One may further argue as to why complicate life even to the extent it was during the golden era - why not go back to the caves? Yes, indeed, how romantic an idea!
1) Owning a telephone connection was considered a luxury. You had to apply to the monopoly Telephone department, and wait for years together for your number to come up. And finally, when it did come up, the lineman will pose a problem saying that spare ‘cable pairs’ were unavailable, and that you will have to wait till a new cable is laid. If you take the hint, and pull out a Rs 100/- note, the cable pair will suddenly make its appearance. But, it will be at least another three days and a few more Rs 100/- notes before you get the connection proper. And, with the first rain (actually, even a breeze would do), it will go dead. As a result, you needed to ‘cultivate’ your lineman if you wanted a semblance of connectivity maintained.
As compared to that, in this ‘kali kaala’, you have the AIRTELs and VODAFONEs offering you connections within hours - and, attending to complaints, also within hours. Against a complaint I had once lodged at around 7 PM, I was shocked to find an AIRTEL technician at my door at 8 PM, attending to the job most professionally, and leaving without even waiting for a thank you from me. It was in a way insulting to think that, unlike in the days of yore, he didn’t care a damn for your bakshish. These companies are re-writing the equations between the workers and the sahibs.
2) Well, of course, in the good old days, there was no internet, and you had to find some newspaper or magazine editor to publish your whines, and consequently, the world was spared of them to that extent.
In this ‘kali kaala’, you are burdened with all the whines from various quarters, on top of all the info, all because of the net.
3) It was the age of the Ambassador and Fiat (later called Premier/ Padmini) cars. Every morning, you had to open the bonnet of the car and check the radiator and battery water levels, apart from the air pressure levels in the tyres - brought about a sense of discipline in you, and generally did not allow you to take your car for granted. Even with all that, breakdowns were frequent, and consequently, women rarely ventured to drive around by themselves.
As compared to that, in this ‘kali kaala’, we find even pint-sized women driving around confidently in battle tank sized SUV’s, competing with BMTC buses in pushing the scooterists out of the road. That was essentially a male domain! It hurts my manly ego! What a tragedy!
4) And, of course, the BAJAJ scooters - the favourite dowry item for a government babu bride-groom. One morning, I remember seeing the over mile-long queue in front of Khivraj motors on Kasturba road. I initially thought it was for booking tickets for some cricket match at the adjoining Chinnaswamy stadium. It turned out that it was for booking the latest model of BAJAJ scooter, the process for which was to begin that day - delivery to be made about a year later.
Likewise, you had to know an insider to get a JAWA motorbike released to you out of turn. The only other bike available was the ROYAL ENFILD - BULLET, which most mortals found to be too heavy.
As against that, you just walk into any of the many showrooms, and pick up a bike of your choice, from amongst an array of models available, in just hours. The contribution of this factor to making today’s ‘kali kaala’ has perhaps been the biggest.
5) In the days of yore, if you wanted to go to Bombay (tears well up in my eyes over nostalgia over that name, sigh!!!) in a hurry, you needed to have ‘cultivated’ the Indian Airlines (the monopoly, government-owned, service provider) clerk at the check in counter to push you through, out of turn. And, anyway, it was only the well-heeled who could afford the cost of air travel.
Today, you just sit at home, select from a bargain of offers available on the net, make the payment through your card, print out the ticket, and in a few hours, you are on board the aircraft. So much so, you now have every Amar, Akbar, Antony flying all over, even just for the fun of it, without a care in the world for the contribution they are making to global warming. Indeed, how terrible!!!
6) The traditional Hibiscus flower was in just one deep red colour. Likewise, Bougenvillae was a reddish pink, and many other flowers had their standard colours.
The kali world of today, playing around with plant genetics, has produced these plants flowering in a riot of colours, trampling on age-old traditions without a care - blasphemous indeed!!! That apart, I keep getting nightmares over what fate awaits us all for tinkering around with what God had originally ordained.
7) Drawing your money from the bank was easily a half-day exercise - waiting around in long queues, particularly on Mondays. It provided a great opportunity to mingle amongst the local community.
Today, you just go to the ATM, round the block, and in a matter of minutes, you are loaded. So much so, every one, particularly the youth, is just blowing away money, like there’s no tomorrow, leading to an overall cultural change - all for the worse, of course! God help us!!!
8) Oh yes - the idiot box! No, it has become that only now. Those days the monopoly Doordarshan showed you only virtuous programmes like Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc, apart from ‘Krishi Darshan’ for the valiant ‘kisaan’s’. So, you had no chance of getting corrupted.
Now, with so many channels, particularly the most vulgar American ones like FRIENDS, BAY WATCH, etc, our youth are getting totally corrupted.
9) Also, time was when mornings started off with ‘Venkateswara Suprabhatam’ on the radio, going on to ‘desh bhakti’ songs rendered soulfully by the likes of Lata Mangeshkar (which moved the late Jawaharlal Nehru to tears), and ending the day with aesthetically romantic (usually on failed romances - sob, sob!) numbers by the likes of Madhubala. The culture and traditions were truly protected as long as things were in the hands of the venerated All India Radio.
Now, particularly with the advent of the FM, we are bombarded day-in and day-out with plain noise in the name of music. And, the lyrics, if at all they can be called that, particularly of the imports from that den of vulgarity, the US, are plain blasphemy. On top of it all, the ‘foreign hand’ is inexorably pushing for entry of the FM lot into news broadcast area, which is certain to cause havoc to the country’s unity and integrity.
In the midst of all these, what is noticeable is that there are the following few areas, which have remained unchanged, or changed just marginally.
1) Power supply
2) Water supply
3) Sewage management, & Sanitation
4) Roads & related infrastructure
5) Public bus transport services
And, what is common about all of them is the fact that they are all handled by the government.
Moral of the story then clearly is that if you want things as in the golden days of yore, leave them be in the hands of the government - that is, subscribe to ‘Socialism’.
One may further argue as to why complicate life even to the extent it was during the golden era – why not go back to the caves? Yes, indeed, how romantic an idea!
PS: I had published the above earlier with just a link to the posting in my personal blog - www.muralidharrao.blogspo.... I have since decided instead to publish the full text.