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Robert Clements Robert Clements
04 Mar 2024

Yes, oops, is what the people in Mumbai said, who drove their cars across the newly repaired Gokhale bridge, connecting Andheri East and West, drove high above the railway line, and then found, to their shock, they could not drive to Juhu, because the Juhu arm of the bridge was six feet lower!

Wait a moment, folks, this is not 2000 years ago, not a hundred years ago, but today! A day and time when we could have fed all the data into a small laptop and got all the measurements for construction before the work started.

The bridge is a concrete example, and pun intended, of policies going wrong, especially the ignoring of checks and balances, which tell us if our beloved country is going in the wrong direction.

One check that is being removed quickly is thinkers, intellectuals, and journalists. Instead of heeding them, we think they are anti-national, far from it. These men and women have only the betterment of their country in mind. Instead of listening to them, we act like spoilt children, spoilt by a misguided, ill-informed mandate, fed on fake news and non-issues:

"Mother," says the spoiled child returning from school, "A few boys were making fun of me!"

"I'll get them removed!" says the mother, "How dare those children make fun of my son," shouts the mother as she storms into the school, I am the managing trustee's wife. "Expel them!"

"Do you know what they said?" asks the flustered teacher, "They told your son he was wearing his pants the wrong way!"

"How dare they!" shouts the mother.

"And your son was!" says the teacher.

"It doesn't matter, throw them out!" says the mother.

And that is what is happening in our country. In that misaligned bridge, we see the beginning of many cases of pants being worn wrongly, like that child.

Just as we build statues, memorials and monuments to extoll acts of triumph and victory, we need to preserve this misaligned, misjudged piece of concrete work as a museum piece. Because this can either be a turning point, as we, the people, become aware of where we are headed and where we will land or sadly, we will continue turning a blind eye, will bring rope ladders, pulleys and other contraptions, stop our cars, jump down that six feet, turn smilingly and help our obliging spouses and aged parents down, telling the world with an artificial smile, "So what?"

So what if unemployment statistics show a huge rise? What if we are placed somewhere last in the poverty index? What if we are losing our freedom of speech. So what?

Even as you say, "Oops", decide what you're going to do after that..!

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