Independence Day, that weekend…

Bangaloreans, welcome their weekends. And how!

Having lived in Bangalore for the past seven years, I would say, they give more than they have in them during the week, for the weekends.

Weekend. When everything you do is justified. Be it lying on couch the entire 48 hours, party with friends, go out, not take bath!

Everything is correct and their ‘right’ on weekends because they toil without complaints, work ungodly hours, do not meet their family, kids, friends for the five days during the week.

By the time most of us reach home our dear ones are fast asleep or unapproachable.

But Bangaloreans never grumble because they know, weekend will be here and all will be right. As they wished. Being part of an IT professional’s life, even I follow this ‘mantra’.

We will be the lords come weekend and I know, each one deserves it.

But last two weekends specifically Saturdays got me thinking.

People are enjoying weekends because they work hard, sacrifice everything during the week or because they are selfish, inconsiderate, self-obsessed?

The Saturdays in question are 15th August, Independence Day and 22nd August, Bangalore Municipal Corporation elections.

I noticed a dissonance!

On 15th kids and adults dressed in whites, paid respect to the flag, homage to the Freedom Fighters and their struggle.

Various schools in the city highly impressed the adult citizens. The citizens couldn’t help but appreciate the efforts on the school’s part to make children recognise the tyranny faced by the Freedom fighters. What the 90 years of struggle were all about. Provided knowledge about their nation, the ‘rights’ bestowed on us courtesy the Freedom Movement. Glorious history of India, its downfall and rise again. The schools did it extremely well.

I could see it, the zeal, the approval, in the eyes of the people, hastily dropping off their kids at bus stops before they themselves went to the nearest flag hoisting.

After that, as is the mood on Saturday, party!

Even I made my special weekend extra special by visiting an old friend. The high point of my day was, when I found that my car received more petrol for Rupees Five hundred than it did around a fortnight ago. Petrol prices had gone down! Obviously courtesy a government that served our democracy.

A democracy, where people had and exercised, the freedom of choice, right to speak as wished, whatever they wished; right to dress as they fancied and they never take kindly to being questioned about it.

I am an observer, and I observed, people were aware of their rights and they never shied away from exercising each one of them.

Being aware is natural. I am sure, these rights are now parts of our DNA, duh, obviously! It’s been 69 years since we got Independence. Democratic rights are definitely ingrained in us by now. Symbolic of educated, informed civilians, responsible citizens who knew they are free, independent and enjoyed it.

Then what happened? What we saw on 22nd August, was not norm.

There was a low voter turnout for the BBMP elections. We heard most of them decided, not to make a choice.

In India where no one gives up anything voluntarily, people let go of their right to vote!

Short memory? They forgot the freedom struggle, the freedom fighters who gave away their lives, to get them those rights. In spite of being reminded just previous Saturday!

Gandhi ji had forgone innumerable meals, to get that right to vote, for us. That right to choose our representatives, who will be the mode of communication between our needs and the Central Government.

A Bangalorean knows of the dismal roads, the agony it is to travel on these roads ten times a week. Each and every one of us have shook our heads, in dismay, at the dug up roads, the intermittent constructions and many perpetual ones. Many professionals, suffer chronic back problems due to travelling on these ‘unpredictable’ roads. I classify them as unpredictable, because there have been incidents, on rainy evenings, when suddenly cars have disappeared, from right in front of our eyes, into potholes and ditches that were not present there six hours ago!

Every Bangalorean has borne, the stench of dying, frothing lakes that require immediate correctional measures. All of us have seen the piles of rotting, swarming, untreated waste that makes the roads of the city insufferable.

I speak as a house wife who painstakingly segregates wet wastes, dry wastes and refuse in hope it will be treated according to guidelines, but then finds piles of mixed wastes on major parts of the city pavements.

I, still segregate, in hope of warding off the health hazard these piles promise, not only for myself and my kids but for everyone.

Now my big question is;

Who is going to take care?

Who is going to supervise, that my efforts are respected and those processes of treating waste stringently followed?

Who gave my non-voting fellow Bangaloreans the right to jeopardize my endeavour?

I can’t not listen to ‘authorities’, read BBMP guidelines; and yet I might not have the right authorities.

Who gave anyone the ‘right’ to put me at risk? Render me helpless.

My reasoning is, since Bangaloreans fight through the week to justify their weekend frolics, why did they do injustice to the Freedom Movement and the Freedom Fighters?

Why on this occasion, my fellow citizens, the educated, responsible adults not choose to exercise their dear rights?

Am I not their responsibility for being part of the society or are they not responsible enough to be part of the society?

P.S. : By the way, the party that I voted for, won. So at least my vote did not go to waste. But what if I made the wrong choice?

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