Life, otherwise, seems to be no different from what it was during the previous trips to the old country. The streets that had been washed clean by the flood waters are now back with rotting garbage piling up. The floods apparently did nothing to remind the vast majority about the delicate ecosystem in which more than eight million live. As if they woke up from a bad dream, people are back to their bad old habits.
- The young and the old alike casually toss away the trash, especially after eating fast foods at cafes and mobile stands.
- The dogs have a field day digging through the scrap and, in the process, stuff gets dispersed all over the streets.
- The rag pickers toss things out of the bins in their search for anything salvageable and recyclable, which is how they make their living.
The gas agency office had the smell of a structure that had been inundated--the smell was so strong that I rushed out preferring the smell of sewage. My father joked that these are the instances that he thanks his sinus problems, because of which he is unaware of stinks.
From a public policy perspective, the rotting garbage is a public health menace. One can easily imagine that the public health implications are not that far away from the London of the old, where a single water pump turned out to be the source of a deadly cholera.
I am once again ticked off thinking about American politicians, especially the rabidly nativist Republicans, who frequently talk about the US having to compete against India. I wonder if any of them see and experience this kind of a ground-level reality. Comfortably ensconced in their own bubbles, America's rich and the middle-class alike hysterically yell about the competition from India, when the reality in India stinks, chokes, and more.
As for the dogs, I wish the locals would elect dogcatchers instead of politicians who are only out to swindle.