We are like that only
The latest on the Commonwealth Games is that the flats built to house visiting athletes are “filthy, dirty and uninhabitable;” especially the toilets are in a mess.
Are you surprised? I bet you are not.
This had to happen, because this happens all the time, and at all places, in India. So, why single out the Commonwealth Games?
I have read and watched the criticism that has been made about the Commonwealth Games in newspapers, television programmes, public meetings and even at private dinners.
Just 10 days left, we are still building roads; there are potholes everywhere; we get stuck for hours in traffic everyday; these guys (the Games organisers – there are many of them) have really messed up, etc. etc. I wonder if we could have done things differently.
Have you ever come across a builder who has handed over flawless flats? Last month I moved into a so-called high-end residential complex in Noida.
From leaking pipes to broken tiles and faulty door locks, I have been struggling till date to fix things. “Jewel of Perfection” is how the builder described this complex in the brochure. My family calls it jewel of imperfection. Mine is not a story in isolation.
So, how could we expect Games village to be different?
As for the delayed projects that we keep complaining about, I ask: where in India a road gets built in time. The most ambitious and political power-backed Golden Quadrilateral project took years past the deadline to complete. Some patches still remain incomplete. Delhi has nearly 100 flyovers.
I wonder how many of them were completed in time. I am not surprised to see the rush of work on a flyover that comes my route – the second one on the Noida link road, which is barely 3 kilometres from the Games venue. When I am driving back home at night I have to watch out, not for vehicles on the road but for the welders at work on the flyover alongside.
There may be some exceptions such as the Delhi Metro, but these don’t make the rule.
Planning and working to a plan is anathema to us. We often see collective discipline as a mediocre’s virtue. We miss deadlines because we love to leave things to the last minute. We are like that only.
We have tremendous faith in jugaad.
About a year ago, when I asked a colleague if Delhi would get ready in time for the Games, she said: “Don’t worry. They will do the jugaad and everything will be ready in time.”
I am also an admirer of the jugaad model, but when it comes to scale it doesn’t work. We have seen that with the Commonwealth Games. As this blog was being written, a foot over-bridge near the main venue collapsed on Tuesday, and I am not sure if this is the last of the embarrassment that the organisers of the games and hosts such as us would have.
This is the price we pay for the work culture we have – leave things to the last minute. All of us are to be blamed. We need to change.
In the past two months since I started writing this blog, I have always got to it after dinner and finish it just before the midnight deadline. This is the first time I am finishing my blog before dinner, four hours ahead of the desk’s deadline.
I am trying to change.