The much-cherished rains arrived sooner than we had expected, giving us a respite from the notorious North Indian heat spell. At the far end, flash floods in Assam became sordid national news and was highlighted perhaps only on social media, majority of the attention of Arnab Goswami and his ilk were diverted to the knee-deep water-logged streets in down south Bangalore and up-north Gurgaon. One could call this a general affinity for the motherland without favouring one’s home state or simply a matter of covering pieces which would grab more eyeballs. Your guess is as good as mine…

People were stranded on the roads between 7 to 8 hours, and all we, the helpless mortals, could do was to question the obtuse urban planners. Why were the drainage facilities not planned bearing in mind the ever-increasing and burgeoning migration of people to the cities? While the mid-sized towns bloated into congested cities encroaching and infiltrating the much-needed private area, the storm-water drains became inept and inadequate to handle the runoff from the rain. It was not even the case of a sudden cloud burst; it’s a mere two hours of drizzle and the city crumbled completely. As normalcy returned within days, all of us forgot the deluge, the street imbroglio, catastrophe, and moved cheerfully to our day-to-day work.

Do we remember last year’s disastrous Chennai floods? It’s not been a year yet and hardly any measures have been taken to mitigate such similar situations for the near future. Needless to mention, many of Indian roads are flawed, ill-designed, and under-prepared achieved through the usage of cheap, schlocky construction material among other factors — the streets are just not able to withstand a mere two-hour shower!

Faridabad, reminisced the citizen, an urban fantasy of a bullock cart ride on the city streets, while they drove all sorts of cars, dodging numerous potholes in the guise of death traps. The horrendous heroes were the ubiquitous manholes of the sewers that were left open to release the excess runoff, and we had to hop over the mud, squalor, filth and what not, risking our mundane lives. The regular cleaning of gutters is the role of any Municipal Corporation without a doubt; but throwing of waste in open by the recalcitrant and incorrigible public should be a strict ‘no-no’ to save the gutters from further clogging. Looking at these dire straits every year has left us wondering whether we will ever see any improvement in these pathetic conditions?!

There may be hundreds of others, thinking of advancement, stepping on to the 70th year of Independence of our nation. While technology has overpowered us and we may have moved ahead, certain things will always remain the same – like our fundamental right of Freedom of Speech and Expression. Here in Enlightenment, we respect the right of expression of everyone in several avatars – be it poetry, prose, art, photography, etc. Let us celebrate our 70th Independence Day along side the 1st (web edition)Anniversary of Enlightenment .

Hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed presenting it to you!!!

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