Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I'm feeling unusually sad today. The reason? Quite simply, the absolute pig's breakfast that our politicians and bureacrats have made of the Commonwealth Games. Foot overbridges are collapsing. Stadium ceilings are crashing down. Athletes quarters are shoddy  and uninhabitable. The list goes on.

"But sad? You? Surely not, Naren!", you ask me censoriously. "Haven't you lived here for the 45 years that you have existed? Doesn't it give you a kind of immunity to disclosure shock that people from other countries don't have. Like you go out with your ABCD cousin eating chaat and where he lies alternately writhing and pooping the next morning, you're tucking into vada pao?"

The answer to all your questions is a shamefaced "Yes". And yet, I AM feeling sad beyond expression. Why this should be so, can't say exactly. I think it's because the shame is now international.

Earlier, you see, we used do all this quietly before our adorably mute domestic audiences who would cheerfully shrug off 1200 crore fodder scams with a cheery "boys will be boys!" and would good naturedly vote in favour of giving them another go. But this time, it's Public. The World Knows! And the World is Laughing! Oh the shame! Even countries like Jersey and Guernsey are planning to pull out it seems. Jersey and Guernsey! Their entire population is less than my housing complex.

Of course India is not silent! No Sir! Everywhere, people are voicing their displeasure. Ranting against Kalmadi. Ridiculing Dixit. Demanding Manmohan Singh's resignation.

And completely missing the point. The reason all this has happened is not that these people are filled with greed and avarice. They are, but if it hadn't been them specifically, it would have been someone else. The point is that our glorious system of benevolent socialistic public service propriety or whatever it  is that this country functions under, holds no one accountable. This is endemic to all public institurions large and small. There is no punishment for crime. No one can be sacked for dereliction of duty, for example. And no one has ever served a prison term for abuse of office.

I have no idea why this should be so. Take the case of the toilet paper scam. You know the one. Where toilet paper was bought for Rs. 4000 a roll when it should have cost Rs. 100. The matter 'is still being probed', as far as I know.

Why in freakin hell this should take so much time is beyond me. Here is what you or I would have done.

Step 1. Find out if the toilet rolls have really been bought for Rs. 4000/- each. Clue - See the invoice. You should see a figure which says Rs. 4000/- per roll, or if not, divide the total invoice amount in rupees by the total number of rolls in numbers and see if the answer is Rs. 4000. It is? Good now go to

Step 2. Find out the fair market price for the rolls. Go to the supermarket. Buy a roll. When checking out, see the amount printed on the bill. Does it say Rs. 100? Good. Keep the receipt.

Step 3. Ask the guy who approved the invoice why his ass should not be put into jail.

How complicated can this be? Why should it take a frikkin committee, who, after a month of dedicated scrutiny are still unable to answer in one of two ways
A) Yes, the rolls were purchased for Rs.4000/- per  when they are freely available for Rs. 100/- per
B) No, the media is being dishonest. The rolls were bought for Rs. 100/- per and not for Rs. 4000/- per, and please put the said media person into prison

By the way, the news I heard what that the 'probe committe' is 'recommending' that 'Darbari be sacked'. Sacked? SACKED! This is not unlike asking General Dyer to write 100 times "I will not order firing on defenceless people again". The man should be given rigorous imprisonment unless he is able to prove he was acting on superiors' orders, in which case the superiors should be given rigourous imprisonment.

The moral, as far as I can see, is that unless someone is given real punishment, someone nuts are really nailed to the floor, nothing is ever going to change. And to my village idiot mind, it looks the right thing to do, doling out punishment I mean. Compromising the nations honour and all that.  But then, that's probably because I'm not a highly trained and skilled bureaucrat.


Sid said...

I agree Naren. Unfortunately the shame is felt only by folks like you and me. The pachyderms occupying high offices say, "Westerners dont like dogs pooping on their beds, Indians we love that" or that the "Bridges for sportsmen are constructed to last, the ones for public have been designed to last only till the last payment cheque is issued - they then self-destruct along with those $1-a-day labourers".

We are a lousy nation. Thats it.

mdss said...

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world...
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Join the facebook page to boycott the games:!/pages/Boycott-Common-Wealth-Games-2010/135449803159462

Satish said...

Heartfelt... reflects how all of us are feeling. Nice to see a post like on this blog.Thanks for posting.

Karadi said...

i for a moment thought Shenoy saw Ramana..

jokes apart...the shame now will be nothing compared to wen something collapses during the event itself...

boo said...

I know I sound like a douchebag when I ask this but ...

Was the "toilet paper scam" and "probed" an attempt at pun of Mensa levels?

rk said...

As an Indian living in a western country and listening to this shameful news every day, I totally cringe and hope/pray the news goes away. A country like China puts forth an amazing show every time and captures the world's admiration. There are just as brilliant minds in India and this is the shoddy stuff they can come up with! Yes, it's truly shameful and much more...I just don't know the words to describe what I am feeling.

bpuriskabab said...

Naren, every country has its shameful episodes. Just look at the US and how we fucked up the response to Katrina, as well as a whole host of other calamities. Like one of the other commenters said, let's just hope all the bad news comes out now, before the games, rather than during the games with loss of life. Let it go.

Srinivas said...

Mistakes happens,but this blunder, yes punishments have to be severe, to make such blunders never happen..but who to make such laws??!!..even Tamil Nadu conducted SAF games very successfully.Pity CMW, anyway as Indians we still tell to the world that this is a conspiracy act by other nations to hinder our grow...??maybe pakistan or America or china too...??!!like our politicians>?!!

joker said...

knock knock!
Who's there?
Kal madi
too late - you need to be aaj madi.

Sorry for the horrible joke....but cwg is the horrible joke being played out with our tax money.

Adi said...

hi i got an sms today morning...
"Breaking News: SURESH KALMADI just tried to hang himself. But the ROOF COLLAPSED!!!"

i guess this sums it up well :)

parthicle said...

I skim the channels every day just to catch a glimpse of somebody saying "sorry", but in babudom dictionaries, I guess, the word "sorry" does not exist!!!

Anonymous said...

V funny, and accurately captures the angst of us Indians.

Baby Vaijayanti and Puppy Manohar said...


are we?

Saumya said...

What a coincidence? I just vented about the deplorable state of affairs at the Asian Games too.

I wonder why we can't be brave and call off the Games - put an early end to the fiasco.

Sharatchandra Bhargav said...

I had got a little out of touch with your blog the last couple of weeks. Very nice heartfelt posting. We have all probably become immune to the 1000 crore scams, but what really irked me was that joker Lalit Bhanot stating that our standards of cleanliness are different from yours. What a horrible horrible thing to say :(. Now the whole world will think this is why India and Indians are filthy. Bhanot and Kalmadi need to go ASAP. They have been in office from my primary school days and have not done squat for sports in the country.

Anonymous said...

Yeh hai Dilli meri jaan. Had this project been given to any other South Indian city or even Calcutta for that matter, it would have been completed on time. Every time I have been to Delhi, I get more convinced Dilli is a haLLi (village in Kannada) and now this Dilli haLLi has embarrassed the rest of the country.

Sumedha said...

I just blogged about the CWG too. Yes, it's true that the events are shameful, and yes, I feel worse because everytime I log onto cnn these days, there's YET another story about the disaster that is CWG.

But, on the other hand, the situation might not be AS bad as shown by the media: the Australian team to CWG has put up pictures of the CWG facilities that look shiny and perfect.

But while I think that things have been exaggerated some, the news of corruption, however, is nothing to take ilghtly. 4000 for toilet paper? Seriously?! And yes, it is very hard to understand why it's taking them so long to investigate this and punish the wrongdoers.

I really, really hope the actual Games go smoothly and nothing disastrous happens. It's already embarrassing, I don't want it to get worse!

Enterprise Mobility Management said...

Now all came calm,Good going CWG,lets enjoy..

Saahil Dama said...

Your first line says that you feel inexplicably sad. Then proceed to justify. If you are inexplicably sad how can you know the reason? :)

Well, everyone makes mistakes. But keep writing mate.

Also, I have a blog too:

narendra shenoy said...

@ Saahil - Hehe. Good spot. I was talking through my hat there :)
Amended now

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

I feel sad at the implicit criticism of "highly trained and skilled" bureaucrats. I wonder, why won't he love me?
Then I realise, hey, I'M not "highly trained and skilled"! Fine, he doesn't mean me! Joy!

The main question, comrade, is not "why are we screwing up the Games".
The real question is, why are we screwing around spending [INR x into (10 to the power of infinity)] to organise these Games, when there are several million people to be fed, housed, educated, healed, transported etc. etc. etc.


Saahil Dama said...

A whack in the face of anti-CWG people.

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monisha mehta said...

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Anonymous said...

For the toilet paper scam, I would put the guy in a prison cell with no water and no toilet paper or have him buy each roll at Rs 4000.

The cost of enterprise mobility solutions said...

You greatly expressed your anguishness and i bow my head for this type of activities done our respected officials..

harimohan said...

the superior factor has a lot to dowith this
kalmadi acts fearlessly becos he knows where to point his finger when caught ,party coffers get filled during rainy times only .

India is a paradox and an enigma becos strangely the games sailed thru pretty well and now all is forgotten till the next one

Deepak Gopalakrishnan said...

Man, despite the tone, this was a hilarious read!

This line [Their entire population is less than my housing complex.]

Reminds me of something MICA's legendary sociology prof AF Mathew said once, while talking about how India was getting divided into smaller and smaller states: "Coorg. There are all of 3 people in the world who speak Coorgi, and they now want their own state!"

Well written, Naren.

Saranya said...

Excellently put!