A city and a cave

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 18 Jul 2018 12:28:03





The first showers of the season and our cities were neck deep in trouble. Flooded, choked, inundated and submerged – that was what they were. Many were reminded of Samuel Coleridge’s ‘Water, water, everywhere and all the boards did shrink…’ And though his waters were far more amiable, misbehaving only in the sea; waters that invaded the cities were so haughty that cities were completely at sea knowing not how to handle the torrent. Though preparations to build Noah’s Ark were not yet afoot, boats were already out. So, it was,‘Water, water everywhere and all the boards (innumerable of those who claim to ‘manage’ civic administration) did shrink,’Water, water everywhere With open potholes for all to sink!

The rains, too, were merciless while pounding the earth. May be because we inundated the Rain God so much with prayers, the God inundated us with rains. Or perhaps Rain God takes prayer a little too seriously. So, the next time we pray for rains we must surely and specifically mention that they be evenly spread across four months. No point rushing in things in an already rushed-up world.Will it be too far-fetched to think that after years and years in human company, rains have turned naughty? They wait for our Met Departments to make all sorts of predictions and issue all the alerts, and then go ahead and thumb their nose, doing the exact opposite. So, when you stayed at home mindful of the alerts, rains too, stayed at home and emerged only when you ventured out.Or perhaps they miss their green landscape with whom they used to flirt so merrily but now, not finding those, go into rage of a lovelorn soul? Who knows!Naughty or haughty, giving or unforgiving, Rains have finally arrived and how! They have spread a rainbow of colours everywhere. Trees have regained their colour, earth her many shades and sky now often wears a solemn grey. Why, rains have filled all of our cities denizens too, with so much colour! Have given city planners good enough blues, have left authorities red-faced and people absolutely marooned. Some contractors, the black sheep, will find their way in the black list for sure. The rains have again offered a golden opportunity to farmers. Thanks to them, our water bodies and reservoirs are again finding themselves in the pink of health. Colourful, isn’t it?

Oh! They are so good at this coming clean and bringing out business, these rains. This year will be particularly remembered for what they brought out and cleaned. They cleaned so many cobwebs created by megalomaniacal world that often deals in terms of powerful and underdeveloped nations, super powers and super ordinaries, aids and sanctions; the world managed more through benevolence and charity rather than duty and humanity; a world accustomed to glorifying poverty of thought as grand new idea. In one stroke, they cleaned all miscalculations and uplifted humanity in a non-descript cave in Thailand. Rains or rather fear of them, brought entire humanity together praying, working, risking lives just to bring out some brave souls trapped inside. In the humongous efforts put in by so many people from around the world, defeating not just demographic odds but also the difficulties of the megalomaniac world culture, rains did clear so much air about the course humanity has for its choosing – living and growing in wise togetherness or continuing with its self-defeatist alienation.

Rains have poured so much water this time round that it cannot but seep into human thought. It must. While cities – an epitome of thoughtless human existence – easily caved in to a deluge gobbling up lives which should have stayed safe inside it, a cave – a dangerous one - became an example of thoughtfully crafted human triumph. For, inside the cave they survived without food and very little water and air because of their togetherness, their commitment to one another’s well being, because of their resolute efforts to consume only that much which was extremely necessary of their very little resources, because of their faith that others will not give up looking for them.
Our inundated cities presented a picture completely opposite. Rains bared not just the true strength of our megalomaniac infrastructure but also human subservience to own comfort and convenience. Togetherness, commitment, faith hardly trespassed through our water-logged, traffic jammed, honking cities. For long, those who understand Nature have advised against her ruthless exploitation. For long, convenience has ignored wisdom. Rains lay bear the cost we might pay for our ignorance.
With our disaster management capabilities washed under the first spell of good rains, how about trying a little damage control? We must let the lovelorn rain meet her green cover sooner than later. Then perhaps our prayers for an even spread of good rains will perhaps be heard. l