The municipal corporation of Delhi has decided to restructure the residential colony I live in along the lines of the new government’s favorite brainchild – “smart cities”. They have decided that we cannot be smart till we have a stone-pavement, done up in red and mustard. Brimming with good intentions, they came with shovels one fine day and dug up all the dirt. There it stood afterwards, in one big pile, witness to the day’s hard work. Much later, arrived a bulldozer, and the pavement, that earlier housed cars and cats, was all in pieces. I came back from work aghast that day, a state of mind that was further worsened at the sight of the – well, site.
A host of people have proceeded to apprise me of their worries since then. “Where on earth do I park my car?” “Errm,” I start, “technically, the pavement is not supposed to be used for parking cars…” “Everyone does that! What do you know?” Indeed.
There are some crazy ones too. “How am I supposed to walk out?” “I am sure you will avoid getting dust on your clothes…” “Not my clothes, silly! Look at my shoes!” They are pencil-heels, as tall as the handle of the umbrella I carry this monsoon. I am suitably sympathetic.
Another resident lamented the loss of her plant. “How carefully had I planted it in the pothole! It was even sprouting leaves. And the monster of a bulldozer trampled it completely.” A few days ago, I had traced a long procession of mosquitoes straight to the said pothole and was secretly pleased it would now be covered. “A pity, indeed.” I venture. For the mosquitoes, at least.
When I reach home these days, there are municipality workers engrossed in transforming our pavement to a “smart one”. The red and mustard blends in well with the plants we have – thankfully – in the balcony. The grievances of people with one car too many, shoes too tall for their own good, or even my intermittent irritation notwithstanding, I look forward to our new pavement. A few days of some discomfort seems like a small price to pay.