About the Blog

This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

February 6, 2009

My UP Travail

The road to entrepreneurship can be fascinating & can carry to strange places & environment. This is probably my after thoughts after visiting UP capital Lucknow in the first week of January. The capital city, once the epicentre of Nawabi culture, today carries the burden of the decadence it has fallen into, one short visit to the city puts to rest any doubt that one may be carrying of the popular perception of this Hindi heartland, Bollywood & popular perception notwithstanding . It is rather a sad reflection of its political upheaval & its unintended consequences, a general pointer to the condition of the state and the leadership it has been churning. I am not taking a connoisseur’s view here but ruminating on the gap that still exists between modern & backward India. The first thing that strikes you when u enter the city is not the unplanned growth & shabbiness but the unruly crowds who have very little or no sympathy to civic Law. The ride thru the city can be nerve racking (like the one 007 Roger Moore gets in an auto driven by Vijay Amritraj in the 1983 flick Octopussy), the relentless honking of every kind of driver on the road create a huge din , there is no such thing like a lane discipline & everybody is everywhere. This was a scene right in front of the state secretariat! The traffic cops do man some junctions but are a helpless lot because nobody follows them. I was told that they are building a new Lucknow as the old city was dilapidated & crumbling. Now that was an understatement in my first hand experience

Only the capital city I am told receives regular electric supply, in Northern & western UP one would be lucky to receive a couple hrs of electric supply. Now that seemed a scary thought in the biting cold weather that was in the state during my visit , the morning local paper said that about 60 people had died due to a dry cold winds that swept the state in the last 2 days. One could see people living in menial conditions draped themselves with anything available, plastic sheets left over from the Buddh market, used political banners with Mayawati peeping out etc. I met a senior Babu ( Bureaucrat)in the state’s vast machinery whose first reaction to my Business proposal was as follows
Aap yehan kuch nahin kar payenge
(आप यहाँ कुछ नहीं कर पाएंगे – you cannot do anything out here)
Yehen ka system jante nahin hain
यहाँ का सिस्टेम जानते नहीं हैं - you do not know the system here)
Aap Bangalore ke swasth mahoul se aaye hein aur aap ka koshis yehan bekar hai
आप बंगलोर के स्वस्थ माहौल से आये हैं और आप का कोशिश यहाँ बेकार है - you have come from a clean environment like Bangalore and your efforts will be in vain )

In some ways he said the truth , the system he spoke was all prevalent , you could only feel it but difficult to comprehend fully. The murkiness & intrigue was characteristic of this system and I realised that after 2 days of interacting with different people. I met a top ranking minister in the Behenji’s Govt who lived in an environment that was in stark contrast to the general surrounding. His residence was a sprawling one with neatly whitewashed buildings, clean surroundings , not so polite orderlies & a bunch of tow’y bureaucrats and other political favour seekers . This was in stark contrast to the general surroundings in the city. The minister for a change was in coloured clothing & sports shoes. I had hired a auto (and my chauffeur turned out to be a guy named Prem) for a couple of hours for the two day business visit & he turned out far more pleasant & friendly than his counterparts in Bangalore. He has given me his mobile & I have promised to call him if I ever were to visit Lucknow again.

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