Update: The railway authorities have since decided to withdraw infotainment facilities from the coaches of two premium trains, Tejas and Shatabdi, as it was found that LCD devices were damaged, wires were broken, headphones were stolen and power switches were removed. Great going, India.
They say that nothing's sacred in comedy, and that's all well and good. You could say the same thing about India though, at least when it comes to progress, and that's well... not very good. Every time we take one step forwards, we shoot ourselves in the toes and topple a 100 feet back. I am, of course, talking about the recent Tejas Express debacle, and how it's indicative of a much wider problem in the country.
To get you up to speed, the Tejas Express is India's first high-speed train, and it was supposed to ply between Mumbai and Goa. It's average speed is said to be 130 kmph. It's equipped with the latest hi-tech steez, like on-board infotainment, Wi-Fi, USB charging ports, LED TVs at the back of the seats and coffee-vending machines. Considering the state of most trains in India, this 'loco'motive (pardon the pun) has been generating a lot of hype.
And as with all good things put in the public space in India, it got shit on before it even made its maiden voyage from the Bay to Goa. A day before it was supposed to make the journey, it arrived in Mumbai from Delhi, and the public was saddened, but probably not surprised, that people had vandalised it. Some bored folks probably threw rocks and damaged the glass on the windows of the train, feeling a sense of pointless achievement in the whole thing.
Now, I'm all for a bit of fun and mischief, but this kinda shit really pisses me off. It's a service for the people that you're destroying, and it's not exactly a one-off incident either. Our country has a long history of fucking up good things just because it's new and it looks pretty. A new coat of paint on a wall? A beautiful piece of public artwork? Let's cover it in a shiny sheen of paan thook!
Then there was the Coldplay concert in India, what was it called? Global Citizen. That's the one. The message was one of togetherness and progress and all that jazz. How'd it end? With a million kilos of trash all across the grounds. The 'million kilos' might be a ballpark figure, but we sure trashed the crap out of that place.
Hell, we even destroy mechanisms put in place to get rid of trash. Like this story.
Some ch*ts actually damaged bottle crushers installed in a Mumbai railway station. What the fuck. You have to be a special kind of stupid to actually want your city to be even dirtier than it already is. Cheap thrills aren't exactly cheap if the entire country has to pay the price. Even when the Mumbai metro started, there was an immediate dispute over fares, as well as fights and cases of vandalism after overcrowding led to people not being allowed in.
Just to drive the point home, here's another example. Metallica, gods of metal and heroes to a large number of music aficionados in the country, were supposed to play in Delhi a few years ago. Everything was in place, the stage was set, people were excited. And when we get excited, we obviously end up breaking shit. The crowd, almost 25,000 in number, got rowdy, destroyed the barricades despite repeated pleas from promoters to back off, and finally, the entire gig had to be canned before it even began. We fucked ourselves.
It really makes you wonder, do we deserve anything nice? What's the point, when some asshole is obviously going to bend, break and spit on not just the thing, but our hope for development itself as a whole. We can't be so stupid about our own condition. I mean it's easy, just follow one rule - If someone gives you something nice, don't fucking ruin it.