Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts

Saturday, August 24, 2013

While you were gone: August 2013 [Part 2 of 3]

This past week, we all took a lungful of air, pinched our noses and took the deep dive. To the rest of the world at the surface, we told - 'Don't wait up, honey'.

First of all, to my Indian readers - Happy Independence day!
Now, could you please stop circulating those email chains that you forward every I-day asking to replace Jana Gana Mana with Vande Mataram? It ain't gonna happen.

It was all in a day's work for our reclusive, reticent Defence Minister. Launching submarines and battleships, then presiding over ones that sank mysteriously. Conspiracy theories flew thick and some played the blame game. But that didn't stop us from gloating, you see. Are we even supposed to believe China is impressed?! Might we remind ourselves how they are picnicking at Arunachal Pradesh? Or maybe we can just put up 'Made In India' posters of our battleships at the border and that will keep them off.
With ships that don't sail, subs that sink to the bottom, planes that won't take off and the ones that do regularly fall off the sky and an army that loves subsidized tipples and the neighbor's wife, it is but a marvel why we have not been wiped off by our neighbors yet.

And like the INS Sindhurakshak, the Rupee sank. Confirmed reports say it hasn't hit the rock bottom of the Marianna Trench, yet. We got thrown out of the trillion dollar club (!!!).
The flip side is, the next time some firang-returned Indian tells you we are just a developing country, you can slap the bejesus out of him/her and tell them 'STFU, we are in the billionaire club'.
The good news is Gold is back up, so you can finally sell all that gold you bought, make a profit and buy that overpriced apartment.


Amidst all the random bullcrap that gets spoken, our opposition did blurt out the inevitable truth- Our economy has taken a time travel and gone back to the future of 1991. Let's all take five and wait for our nation to catch up.

 
Modi was in the news, again. Blah! The guy is turning into the SRK of politics! First he trash-talks the Quiet Head of our Quiet Nation on the I-day and then heads to UK.
Modi is like that acid reflux after eating that roadside biriyani from that pushcart with questionable hygiene. Feel the Feeling!

But don't let the infighting fool you. They know how to unite as well. Against good. Funny thing is we let them unite against the lone sane voice in the wilderness. Is it because we know that they will get away with it or because deep inside we want the same thing as the politicians?

And like a bad smell that clings to you, we had more men raping fewer women. This is what happens when pornstars announce their retirement. Out came the 'Stop Rape Now' placards and part-time protesters. In exactly 2 days, we will have a new scam to talk about. Yay!

Abdul Karim Tunda got bagged, tagged and slapped. Welcome to India.
The annual prisoner release happened. Good! But could someone tell them to stop arresting innocent fishermen in the first place?
Kishtar and tell it. Omar took the bull by the horn. The 'mainlanders' (aka The Rest of Us) didn't like his guts. If you ask me, we need more politicians like Omar.
Andhra boiled. India Shining!

Across the pond, Middle East was on simmer.
First Egypt, then Syria. As thousands were killed in their sleep by chemical weapons, and as Uncle Sam stiffened, one thing is sure - This isn't going to end well.
While the world looks towards the UN (read US) another expensive US-led coalition war in the Middle East has doomsday written all over it.
Hosni is out. Mubbarak, Egypt!

A hop, skip and jump away, The Guardian got screwed. There goes all our perceptions of free speech, eh?!
Norwegian PM swapped clothes and went undercover. But don't let the critics bother you, Mr Manmohan Singh. You just enjoy the rest of your notice period.

Maybe if we agitated and protested as fiercely as Indian politicians fight in parliament, then maybe we will have laws that will stop our men from raping our women, deter misadventures from Pakistan and China won't invade us anymore. Alas, if wishes were candy.

But if you thought we are doomed, take a number and get in line. Japan is at the counter and cashing its chips in, and this might take a while. With a country full of geezers, politicians who don't know what to do (deja vu`) and the mother of all leaks, Japan is soon going to be the black hole that will suck the rest of us in.

Previously I said, Hell hath no fury like a spurned IAS officer.
Correction: Hell hath no fury like a spurned Oprah.
And if you didn't know this already, Area 51 exists. How shocking!
Next Week: We discover God.

In other weird news, surgeons removed a 4" fork from penis of a 70 year old geezer. I could give you 500 MB of funny euphemisms to this piece of gem, but I'll give it a rest.

In closing, Kurshid doesn't know what went wrong with Pakistan and China.
Shinde is shitting in his pants trying to figure out what's going wrong with the law and order in our country.
Anthony can't fix the forces.
Chiddu has no clue what's wrong with the Rupee.
Mr Singh has exhausted his quota of words at his last Independence Day speech.
Anna is away on an all-expenses paid vacation.
This is the story of our times. Mera Bharat Mahan!

But I hope you enjoyed the Perseids meteor shower.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

44 days

Reposted
This is a true story that happened in Japan in 1988.

A 17 year old girl named Furuta Junko, was kidnapped and then tortured by 4 boys with very unimaginable way and finally death after 44 days.

For you who can`t stand read something that is so cruel, don’t read this. Please join the Facebook Group, that was made in her honor.

*******
The crime:

In November of 1988, Boy A (18), Boy B (Jo Kamisaku, 17; Kamisaku was a new family name he took after being released from prison), Boy C (16) and Boy D (17) from Tokyo abducted Furuta, a second year high school (grade 11) student from Saitama Prefecture in Misato, for 44 days. They kept her captive in the house owned by the parents of Boy C.

To forestall a manhunt, Boy A coerced Furuta into calling her own parents and telling them that she had run away from home, but was with “a friend” and was not in danger. He also browbeat her into posing as one of the boys’ girlfriends when the parents of the house where she was held were around, but when it became clear that the parents would not call the police, he dropped this pretext.

Furuta tried to escape several times, begging the parents of Boy C more than once to help her, but they did nothing, apparently out of fear that Boy A would hurt them. Boy A was at the time a low-level yakuza leader and had bragged that he could use his connections to kill anyone who interfered.

According to their statements at their trial, the four of them raped her, beat her, introduced foreign objects including an iron rod into her vagina, made her drink her own urine and was fed cockroaches, inserted fireworks into her anus, and set them off, forced Furuta to masturbate, cut her nipple with pliers, dropped dumbbells onto her stomach, and burned her with cigarettes and lighters. (One of the burnings was punishment for attempting to call the police.)

At one point her injuries were so severe that according to one of the boys it took more than an hour for her to crawl downstairs to use the bathroom. They also related that “possibly a hundred different people” knew that Furuta had been imprisoned there, but it is not clear if this means they visited the house at different times while she was imprisoned there, or themselves either raped or abused her.

When the boys refused to let her leave, she begged them on several occasions to “kill (her) and get it over with“.

On January 4, 1989, using one of the boys’ loss at mah-jongg as a pretext, the four beat her with an iron barbell, poured lighter fluid on her legs, arms, face and stomach, and set her on fire. She died later that day of shock.

The four boys claimed that they were not aware of how badly injured she was, and that they believed she had been malingering.
The killers hid her corpse in an 55-gallon drum filled with cement; the perpetrators disposed the drum in a tract of reclaimed land in Koto, Tokyo.

*****
Arrest and punishment

The boys were arrested and tried as adults; but, because of Japanese handling of crimes committed by juveniles, their identities were sealed by the court. However, a weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun reported their real names, claiming “Human rights aren’t needed for brutes.” Furuta’s real name and details about her personal life were reported exhaustively in the media. Kamisaku was judged as a sub leader, at least according to the official trial.

The four boys pled guilty to a reduced charge of “committing bodily injury that resulted in death“, rather than murder. Boy A’s parents sold their house for approximately 50 million yen and paid this as compensation to Furuta’s family.

For his participation in the crime, Kamisaku served eight years in a juvenile prison before he was released, in August 1999. In July 2004, he was arrested for assaulting an acquaintance, whom he believed to be luring a girlfriend away from him, and allegedly bragged about his earlier infamy. Kamisaku was sentenced to seven years in prison for the beating.

Junko’s parents were dismayed by the sentences received by their daughter’s killers, and enjoined a civil suit against the parents of the boy in whose home the crimes were committed. When some of the convictions were overturned on the basis of problematic physical evidence (the semen and pubic hair recovered from the body did not match those of the boys who were arrested), the lawyer handling the civil suit decided there was no case to be made and refused to represent them further. (There is speculation that the evidence may have been contaminated—for example, by unidentified persons who raped Furuta.)

One of the most disturbing parts of this true story is that her killers are now free. After putting Junko Furuta through all that suffering, they are free men!!! And only have 8 years in prison.

==

“A high-school girl was abducted by four teenaged hooligans while she was on her way to work. They took her to the house of a friend, held her in his bedroom, and for the next forty-five days enacted every imaginable form of abuse on her (and some you wouldn’t want to imagine). They gang-raped her—both with their own bodies and with an assortment of foreign objects—beat her, kicked her, doused her extremities with lighter fluid and set her on fire, and probably did many other things to her that went undocumented by either her tormentors or the police. They mocked her pain. They held her down and dropped barbells on her stomach. This last bit of torture was more than she could withstand, and after going into convulsions she apparently either strangled on her own vomit or simply died from her beatings. When the boys were questioned later about why they didn’t do anything during her seizure, they replied, “We assumed she was faking it.”

“She tried to escape, more than once. The first time, she was caught in the process of making a phone call. The second time, she ran into the parents of the boy who lived there; apparently they had known all along what was gong on. She begged them to help her, but they refused; his friend had criminal connections, and they didn’t want to get into trouble, too. After her death, they taped her arms and legs together, threw her into a 55-gallon drum, filled it with cement, and dumped it in an empty lot. The body wasn’t recovered until almost a year later. The ringleader of the whole incident served seven years in prison and is now a free man.”

*******

What they did to her and the suffering

These horrifying things done to Junko Furuta had been collected through the Japanese court trial of the case, and blogs from 1989. They show the pain that Junko Furuta had to endure before she was finally dead. All this had happened to her while she was still alive. They are disturbing, but the truth.

All of this had happened.

-

DAY 1: November 22, 1988: Kidnapped
Kept captive in house, and posed as one of boy’s girlfriend
Raped (over 400 times in total)
Forced to call her parents and tell them she had run away
Starved and malnutritioned
Fed cockroaches to eat and urine to drink
Forced to masturbate
Forced to strip in front of others
Burned with cigarette lighters
Foreign objects inserted into her vagina/anus

DAY 11: December 1, 1988: Severely beat up countless times
Face held against concrete ground and jumped on
Hands tied to ceiling and body used as a punching bag
Nose filled with so much blood that she can only breath through her mouth
Dumbbells dropped onto her stomach
Vomited when tried to drink water (her stomach couldn’t accept it)
Tried to escape and punished by cigarette burning on arms
Flammable liquid poured on her feet and legs, then lit on fire
Bottle inserted into her anus, causing injury

DAY 20: December10, 1989: Unable to walk properly due to severe leg burns
Beat with bamboo sticks
Fireworks inserted into anus and lit
Hands smashed by weights and fingernails kracked
Beaten with golf club
Cigarettes inserted into vagina
Beaten with iron rods repeatedly
Winter; forced outside to sleep in balcony
Skewers of grilled chicken inserted into her vagina and anus, causing bleeding

DAY 30: Hot wax dripped onto face
Eyelids burned by cigarette lighter
Stabbed with sewing needles in chest area
Left nipple cut and destroyed with pliers
Hot light bulb inserted into her vagina
Heavy bleeding from vagina due to scissors insertion
Unable to urinate properly
Injuries were so severe that it took over an hour for her to crawl downstairs and use the bathroom
Eardrums severely damaged
Extreme reduced brain size

DAY 40: Begged her torturers to “kill her and get it over with”

January 1, 1989: Junko greets the New Years Day alone
Body mutilated
Unable to move from the ground

DAY 44: January 4, 1989: The four boys beat her mutilated body with an iron barbell, using a loss at the game of Mah-jongg as a pretext. She is profusely bleeding from her mouth and nose. They put a candle’s flame to her face and eyes.

Then, lighter fluid was poured onto her legs, arms, face and stomach, and then lit on fire. This final torture lasted for a time of two hours.

Junko Furuta died later that day, in pain and alone. Nothing could compare 44 days of suffering she had to go through.

When her mother heard the news and details of what had happened to her daughter, she fainted. She had to undergo a psychiatric outpatient treatment . Imagine her endless pain.

This story from 1989 is true. Please spread her story around. Everyone should know about the existence of Junko Furuta’s unimaginable and incomprehensible suffering, and this is why this group has been made.


Friday, July 08, 2011

You must be kidding me!

I love reading the news. More now than ever before.
After all, whats going on in this Great Shining India of ours beats the living daylights off TRP's off any reality show.

Sample some of the latest platinum rated stuff, fresh off the ass's mouths:

Human resources development minister Kapil Sibal has criticised civil society representatives, led by social activist Anna Hazare, of trying to undermine the role of the elected government in the drafting of the lokpal bill and of attempting to gain control of the country. While speaking
to Congress party workers at the launch of the Jan Jagaran Abhiyaan (‘Awakening of the people’) on Thursday, Sibal said, “We will not allow five to 11 members of the Lokpal to run this country – this will neither be acceptable to the government nor to the countrymen. They [the civil society members] make it sound as if these 11 members will ascend from heaven. It is a good dream but the country cannot be run on dreams.”  

The Jan Jagaran Abhiyaan was launched by the Mumbai Congress in preparation for the 2012 civic polls.

Sibal also accused civil society members of trying to subjugate the constitution. “They want to bring the judiciary under the Lokpal’s purview. This will only deter judges from acting fairly and will instill fear in them,” said Sibal.

Civil society members condemned Sibal, accusing him of trying to mislead people. “Our only intention is to have a strong Lokpal bill to deter corrupt practices, which has reached unprecedented levels,” said Mayank Gandhi, Mumbai coordinator, India against Corruption.

Sibal also expressed displeasure over the manner in which television news channels were highlighting the news of union minister Dayanidhi Maran’s resignation. He said TV channels destroyed the hard-earned reputation of accomplished individuals. “TV channels think they run the country. I request the government to make them accountable,” said Sibal. Television channels boycotted the Jan Jagaran Abhiyaan after Congress cadres allegedly heckled crewmembers. 
 
Now, say it with me, slowly: Yes Ofcourse.

Why would the politicians in this country ever want to give away their golden goose, eh?
You must be kidding me to believe that they will ever relinquish control.

Our Minister of Human Resources (really?!) thinks his kin is beyond the reach of the civil society.
Mr Sibal, we elected you. You represent us, not the other way around. You listen to us, and again, not the other way around.

How daring for a senior minister to even venture such a statement.
We must fire his speech writer.

We desperately need some of those Japanese conscience implanted into our politicians. 
Gosh! The grass is indeed green on the other side.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Resident: Evil

Part 4

Concluding part of the 4 part series about events that are changing our world


I love Hollywood (Who doesn't)

But three reasons why I stay away from horror/sci fi and action.

-Everyone, from the Arabs to the Russians, nastiest viruses and generally every convulted force in the universe is always trying to conquer, control or kill Americans.
-Of course they might be better produced and funded, but you almost always need to watch them with a huge pinch of salt.

Out of the hundreds of movies that are churned out in Hollywood and the millions off Bollywood, there will be one movie that'll make the cut.
The one movie that will make you sit up and ponder. 'Hmm, now that is possible.'

One of my favorite series of horror/sci fi/action movies are the Resident Evil Series. Not untypical of Hollywood and definitely not the last zombie to crawl out of the studios, I've watched the trilogy a dozen times on DVD and then whenever it comes on TV.

The movie is based on a virus that mutates the dead into the Living Dead.
Though this could be impossible to vision in real life, reel life is fantastic. (You can always get back to the good life after 3 hours)

In reel life, we've conquered the nastiest aliens and the most diabolic humans. We've battled nature in all her fury and survived. We've overcome global wars and destruction. All in America.
But in real life, we've been pinned down by nature's fury. We've struggled with recession and we're yet to win over terrorists.

We've failed to learn lessons from any of the million dollar sci fi movies that has come out.
With the meltdown in Tokyo, turmoil in Tunisia and a World that seems to be racing to The next Big War, it does look like we could do with some special effects and change in scripts right about now.

-The Third reason why I've stayed away from sci fi horror / action is because I've learned bigger lessons from movies like 'Just like Heaven' and 'Bruce Almighty'. You don't have to have a girl friend who forgets what she did yesterday and lives in the past to realize what a wonderful relationship you've got right now. You don't have to loose someone you've loved in the pursuit of wealth to realize that you've got all you need in your life right now. Life is not always about the money. It is about the people that makes living each hour of every day of every week of every month of every year worth living.

The fall of man wouldn't have happened if Adam had listened to God. The two World Wars wouldn't have happened if we would've been slow to anger and the Chernobyl wouldn't have happened if we'd have listened to instructions. So much tragedy and so much pain.

We all have stories to tell of circumstances that have shown us the need to listen before we speak. We've naturally tempted to come to quick judgments and react angrily. Be swift to hear, slow to speak and slower to wrath.

You and I are not mistakes and accidents that happened. You and I have a purpose.
Life is not a transit between Birth and Death. It is The Event.

'Love People and Use Things. Not the other way round'

Jump to the other parts here:
Apocalypse, Oil, Freedom


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Oil: You gotta have it!

Part 2

Second of a 4 part series about events that are changing our world


While Japan struggles to grapple with Nature's arm, a couple of clicks away Libya is in a power struggle.

With US as the friendly neighborhood Super-Cop, you can be sure that help is only a revolution away. And it helps if you are in the Middle East, because that's where Uncle Sam refuels.

With half of the ME on the home team, is it any wonder why Bin Laden and his radical bunch of cronies flourish.
Why must the West intervene and almost always decide that War is the only way?


Lucrative weapons sales and Oil aside, the West must realise that they've done business with the very dictators that they are hunting down now. This brings to my mind a line in the George Clooney movie 'The Peacemaker' : 'Are you surprised that the worlds greatest terrorists - the US administration -educated half the world's terrorists ?'
The scriptwriters might have inadvertently stumbled on the single most honest truth in the history of mankind.

The West (read: US) first sell you the weapons, then the training. Then they sell it to the 'rebels' (read: 'New' Clients). They'll put in a fighter jet or two as a bonus Add-on.
The Middle East are a bunch of unruly brats. Correction: Rich unruly brats. However, left to their own short squabbles and longer bonhomie, I believe they can truly mind their own business. They have neither invaded (barring Iraq and Israel) another country or send their troops on guard duty to invade / help invade another country.

The West should leave the Middle east for good. Any intervention only muddles the next problem up so bad that they'd wish they had minded their own business.

Why can't they 'fix' China? Well, that because if China shuts down then Americans might as well fall dead.
Why can't they fix repressive regimes like Sri Lanka or the North Korea?
Apart from the fact that neither of these regimes are major producers of Oil, meddling in these countries would not always guarantee that you'd get the military contracts that keep the governments running. They are careful spenders and choose their 'Vendors' carefully.

They couldn't get to Iran. Well not yet. Hence US in a carefully choreographed move is making sure that all the other dysfunctional countries around is either on the home team or has been blown to smithereens before they arm twist Iran into submission.


The UN sanctions are but a joke. As a rubber stamp for the West, the line between the UN and the US is a blurry one at that.

The US must understand that all the war posturing isn't going to do them any good because someday, they have to get out of all that protective cover they are in. And that's when being an American will begin to suck. (Or has it already?!)

Power is a lousy seductress. She can get you anything at a price. Anything but peace.



The World has slowly but surely become a ticking time bomb. The US with its despotic yet selective urge to control Oil. Good Luck, Rest of the World!


I pray He comes soon.


Jump to the other parts here:
Apocalypse, Freedom, Evil


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Apocalypse: The Beginning of the End

Part 1
The first of a 4 part series about events that are changing our world

I've been following the recent spate of global unrest/tragedies that appear seemingly connected.
Now, I am sure a great many Christian and doomsday 'fans' would be feeling vindicated.

Common people are standing up for equality and freedom, does this mean we are approaching the end of the world?
When ruthless monarchies and despotic dictators are being overthrown, does this mean Jesus is coming?
When nature decides to wipe off parts of one of the wealthiest countries in the world, does this mean nature is revolting and God has decided our time's up now?
No, No and No.

I think our Creator is a very patient Entity. Patient unto the end. Omnipresent. All forgiving.
The End is not for us to ponder upon. Prepare. Not panic.

The Book of Revelations in the Holy Bible reveal a picture of fire and fury and evil of wonderful proportions that signal the End days.
He says that Satan will rule all over the world, every single person - believer and others will be tried and tested.
He says that we will turn against each other. And no, I am not talking about what happened in Egypt. I am talking about when a son turns against his dad and a daughter turns against her mom. The 'Good' (aka The truly Holy) will be tested and the Evil will prevail.
The End times will have global catastrophes that we will have no control over.

So what happened in Japan is truly tragic. TEPCO had a notorious record of falsifying records of previous inspections and accidents.
But as a person who has read about the Chernobyl tragedy, this is surreal and a bad case of deja vu. I now wonder why the 'brains' behind the Daiichi reactors didn't make sufficient contingency plans for something that could be so obvious. Or what in the world were they thinking when created a nuclear plant on one of the most seismically active zones in the world?
This is the Chernobyl of our making. And not the last one.

I shudder to think of the millions who will suffer for generations to come. The fallout of our vices. The sludge waste of our greed.

Could someone please help me understand why we need nuclear power so badly?
Why are we so resistant against energy that is safe, renewable yet won't radiate a dozen generations in a disaster?
Why must we let our children's children suffer for sins we've committed?

Japan. Our prayers are for you and we hope that the generations ahead will forgive all of us.

Jump to the subsequent parts here:
Oil, Freedom, Evil


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Bucking the Ride

Driving in India requires you to have 3 absolutely essential aspects:
Good Horn, Good Brakes and Good luck.

Its been a long while since I've used public transportation.
'Infrastructure' as is known in India is a fairly loose term.

Recession meant I had to cut corners and with fuel prices eating up more of my earnings every month, I decided to sell my ride and take up public transportation.
I've earned most of my miles traveling in buses in Bangalore and back home in Kollam, Kerala.
Given a choice, I would travel in a bus rather than a car or any other private mode of transportation. Buses in Kerala and Bangalore are my favorite, besides the locals in Mumbai.

Public Buses in Bangalore are laid back and have a mind of their own. Drivers think they are above the law, and conductors try to make a quick buck every opportunity they get. There are laws, if it were followed, would have made driving in Bangalore is pleasure. But what do you get if a driver decides to stop for a passenger almost diagonally across the road, for 20 seconds. This has a domino affect on all the rest of the traffic that was unlucky enough to be behind the bus. In the 30 seconds that it took for the bus to get moving, you would have all the other drivers honking and literally pulling their hair out. Now, multiply this by a thousand buses doing this at least 30 times a days. Combine this with a hundred cows, a thousand bullock carts, a million Rickshaws, a zillion bikes and a quadrillion cars. That's the formula for Road Rash, Bangalore Edition.

I was traveling on the day of the Civic elections that were held recently, and I must say, that was the first day I ever saw the roads without a traffic jam in the CBD (Central Business District).
Many well intentioned publicity campaigns were launched, but none of them ever made a dent in the psyche of the common Indian road user.

So what ails Bangalore roads?

Most of them are illiterate and with the lackadaisical quality of primary education, our drivers rarely get to learn about traffic rules and unless there is a concerted effort, our children will never learn that either. I remember how we used to have traffic education back in our primary classes. My biggest source of social etiquette was from a TV show called 'Sesame Street'. I still remember how the friendly puppets used to teach us different things.. Sadly, our children are stuck with lackluster shows on TV.

Roads in Bangalore, are pretty much unmarked and none have dedicated lanes for emergency vehicles. Our drivers change lanes with absolute disregard and blatant disrespect for their fellow drivers and road users. A show of hand or signal is considered 'luxury' if not for the cursory glance while you are changing lanes or making that turn. After all, 'why should I take care. If you are behind me, you should look out for me'. Our 'I am the King of the Road' attitude is wrecking havoc which probably over the years, will mutate into 'Hit first, Ask questions later'.

I have seen ambulances with their sirens getting stuck at the traffic lights, just because the guy in the front didn't want to jump the signal. (He would have otherwise jumped the signal if he was late for a movie/date) God bless you, if you ever need an ambulance in Bangalore!
I have seen men (in particular) in bikes ride on the footpath (yes, you heard me right, the foot path) just so that they can get ahead at the traffic lights.

Well, the roads, themselves leave much to be desired since most of the roads that were laid in the last 2-3 years look like the work of a bunch of kids with shovels and a lot of tar. Uneven does not even begin to describe the road leading up to the Golf course and Hebbal flyover.
Much of the road look like tar was laid over a carpet bombed terrain, the railings shoddy and crooked and dividers that look like a bunch of Lego blocks strewn in a line. I have been on better dirt roads in villages! This road however gets me thinking and wondering 'Who approved this road and how is it that we never have bothered to castrate the bastards who made millions out of a work this shoddy'.

Enforcing laws that already exist should be given the highest priority. Nothing less should do. Like a capricious child with an obsessive compulsive disorder, our Authorities love to create a lot of new rules. It is almost like they are vying for credit for creating draconian rules that never get implemented. I recently got a mail (one of the thousands that are forwarded/spammed) that gave a list of all the traffic rules and punishments. What struck me (besides the realization that the rules might have been ghost written by some 8th grade student) was that most of the 'fines' were a pittance; Rs 100, for instance is a paltry sum. 1oo bucks would have been a princely sum back in the 80's but with the rupee being what it is now, I would rather pay the pittance rather than follow the rule. The fines which are meant to be a deterrence fail to even worry us. 
Growing up in Kuwait, there used to frequent and prompt checks (at any time of the day). There was never any reluctance to pay fines though we have rarely been fined, since the fines and the punishments there were as harsh as they were fiercely enforced. I have seen cops stand in the middle of the blazing sun to make sure they check every driver and punish those breaking the rules. You can't even think of jumping the red light, because you can bet your last buck that you will get a court order in 7 working days asking you to pay up KD 500 (approximately Rs 75000/approximately what an average Indian earns in 3 months). So if you drive without documents, no amount of money muscle or name pulling will help, you will be in jail until the court decides to hear your case (which is probably 1 week). Now this is liberal Kuwait. Consider yourself lucky you are not in Saudi Arabia. You ogle at that lady, and you would end yourself without an eye!

But welcome to India. Aren't we just so lucky that our leaders are politically impotent?

They don't have the will nor the creativity to enforce laws.
A lot of us would like to move mountains but few are willing to practice on small hills.
A very close pal of mine, once remarked that the reason why we have a very laid back attitude about development is because we were ruled over by other civilizations for several centuries.
'Ours is the only civilization that never invaded other countries, but were ruled by others'.Or what is also known as 'The Great Indian Excuse' for screwing up!

We take pride in mediocrity. So what if we were ruled over by other nations for centuries? There have been plenty of other nations, that were ruled and stripped off their riches. Some of them are still ruled by neo imperialistic countries like the US. Japan has not one natural resource of its own, has a large population that have lived through the really tough times but is one of the most respected nations in the world today. Their education system churns out geniuses and their work ethics are flawless. Their products are the most sought after. Health care is free and politicians are fair. Though they were ruled over, nuked and brought to their knees, nothing could ever stop them. They made reforms to their constitution and enforced laws that made sure that everyone had a fair playing field. Traffic is systematic and the pedestrians would cross only in designated sections on the road. Infact you will recognize a Japanese tourist by the way he/she waits for the pedestrian lights to turn green, although in Bangalore, this is a redundant oxymoron. Public Transportation is well developed and corruption is virtually unknown. They wouldn't even think of passing the buck, and when the Japanese apologise, they mean it.

Sometime ago, I chanced upon an well meaning article about 'The Social costs of bad roads'. While not going into the details of what the article said, I wonder how many of us even think of the long term consequence of bad roads and poor driving skills will have on our society and the next generation.

Traveling down the bad roads of Bangalore, some day, I hope the eyes and mouths of our conscience open to the fact that we are capable of better roads and better civic sense. But we instead choose to wear our social blinkers.

Vellanakalude nadu, (The land of White Elephants) A Malayalam comedy by the veteran director Priyadarshan gives you a glimpse at the struggle and the corruption that happens in Kerala (and pretty much any where in India) when it comes to building a road and other public infrastructure projects. (You can watch the movie with English subtitles here)

A lot of times, we like to sidestep the issue like a pothole, for we think we cannot make a difference. We like to indulge in the great bureaucratic exercise called 'Passing the Buck', when it comes to social responsibility.

The Transportation department will let you have a license to drive, kill and maim, and all you need to do is grease the palms of that RTO inspector. I recall when I was trying to get my license, I flunked the driving test 3 times, just because I chose not to bribe that agent in the RTO. I came back, the next day, paid that agent Rs 500 and said my license would be ready, asked me to give the driving test nonetheless. Waiting in line for the test, I noticed that my form had a tiny * that my agent had marked in the top corner, which indicated to the Inspector that he was paid off. Needless to say, I 'breezed' through the test and got my license in 1 week. I knew driving partly because of my experience abroad, but mostly because my Dad was my mentor. But imagine the hundreds and thousands of those who bribe obscene amounts of money just so that they can drive.

Driving while intoxicated is such a no-brainer that I wonder why otherwise smart people would even want to venture the wheel when we know of lives that have been shattered because of people who drove when they were drunk. I guess it is because we know we can bribe that cop off, or maybe because we can earn bragging rights that we drove after drinking. Well, what people don't realize is that it's just not your turn. Not yet.

Is demanding better roads and educated and thoughtful drivers too much to ask?

Welcome to Bangalore, Formerly known as The Garden City, but now it's just The City of bad drivers and horrible roads.
PS: The image of the day: 'Hump Ahead' was chosen because of the following reasons:
1) Because I would like to thank the English genius(es) who immortalized Indian Roads by combining 2 words that make every tourist from the West giggle with naughty anticipation.
2) Because that sign makes me giggle too.


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