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We haven’t been New Yorked yet, thank you Minister

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by August 20, 2017 General

I think we should stop complaining. Traffic, potholes, flyovers and live-unders, water shortages, power outages should no longer be part of our conversations. We are blessed. We are better off than that terrible place, New York. At least that’s what our City Development Minister thinks. He is a politician, so he must be right.

After all, our lakes froth better than any in New York. We ought to be proud of Bellandur lake which is a tourist attraction. I have a guest at home from the U.K. whose “must see” list includes Varthur lake, now at its foaming and fiery best. We will soon see tourist stalls and merchandise near these wonderful visual and aromatic delights, selling the foam in bottles and inviting selfies against the ever-rising white muck. “Come and see our national treasure! Watch as the filth gets into the mouths and ears as we drive past. Calculate how easily the money set aside for the clean-up can disappear! What excitement! What drama!”

Perhaps tourists can take selfies in other areas of our Minister-Development City too. Perhaps there will soon be a statue of our City Development Minister — made not of bronze or something boring like that, but a modern one built of foam and sludge and uncollected garbage and overused batteries from generators. A marriage of form and content.

Compared with other cities, the Minister has told us, Bengaluru is tops. It is in a better position to handle floods. “Only a small portion of the city was inconvenienced,” he says, speaking possibly from an ivory tower unaffected by the disaster below. Only 300 houses of the 20 lakh were destroyed, he says. Nothing to get worked up about. That’s just 0.015% of our dwelling places. After all, to quote him, rainfall would lead to “some inconvenience”.

We should learn to put up with “some inconvenience” like the annual flooding of our homes, the destruction of our vehicles and the disappearance of our roads. I mean, how can you be prepared for rain every year? That is the jurisdiction of the Rain Development Minister. The Silt Removal Minister hasn’t said anything nor has the Power Reconnection Minister or the Minister for Constantly Comparing Bengaluru to Singapore and Shanghai. So things can’t be all that bad.

Look at the bright side. Not only do we not have to live in New York, we do not have to deal with its most important resident, Donald Trump, who would have tweeted that the floods under his watch were much bigger than in the Obama years.

New Yorkers will have to work hard to catch up with Bengaluru. Let them dig up their roads, string out their potholes, pour effluents into their lakes to get them foaming, appoint a City Development Minister who sounds like Trump, ruin their power and water supply, and then they have a chance. They would have been well and truly Bangalored. But they will have the joy of knowing that they will finally have a city that is better than Bengaluru.

(Suresh Menon is Contributing Editor, The Hindu)

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