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May 3rd, 2020

Let them eat rose petals

Today the weather here in Delhi has been spectacular. Thunder, heavy downpours – just fabulous.

Felt monsoon-y, rather than baking-hot-May-summer-y.

Yet despite such gorgeous weather, my mood all day has been one of borderline despair, accompanied by a desire to scream and shout and weep, all at the same time.

India was arbitrarily locked down, with exactly 4 hours warning, on 22 March.

22 March.

Today is the 3 May.

You can do the maths.

Hundreds of thousands of poor Indians – mainly migrant labourers – are STILL waiting to be allowed to return to their villages.

They have no work, they have no money. Some of them are in camps, many are sleeping rough. Some are trying to work hundreds of miles across the country to get home.

And still they wait, the poorest of the poor, for the government (led by a man who proudly flaunts his humble origins) to help them.

There is talk of special trains to take the migrants home – but they will be charged for their tickets.

There were, however, buses available to bring students back from coaching centres in Kota in Rajasthan, but not for labourers.

There were planes available for Indians returning from overseas, but nothing for labourers.

Today, we had military flypasts, showering rose petals over hospitals, to “honour” the medics.

Yes.

Rose petals.

The very same hospitals where there is a shortage of PPE.

Rose petals.

I saw the fighters flying over our house – first 3, then a few minutes later, 6 planes.

It was over in a trice, with God alone knows how much money spent in the process.

Warships are being lit up.

Military bands apparently played outside hospitals.

So obviously there was transport available to move bandsman & their instruments around, but not for migrant workers.

I want to weep.

Try telling the starving labourers about the rose petals.

I’m sure they’ll feel much better.

20 comments to Let them eat rose petals

  • Meenal Bishnoi

    This is sick on every possible level. What a shame.

  • Tanya Mirchandani

    I think Trump and Modi want to outdo/copy each other ?

  • Sunil Punshi

    Rose petals instead of PPE kits

  • Sarah Arnot

    OMG that is completely farcical.

  • Arjun Singh

    Spirit is something that sometimes is more necessary than anything else.
    This Gesture by army is what would boost morale of the doctors who are putting their own life on the edge to treat people.

  • Rehana Fazli

    Oh Christine, one’s heart breaks and yet we are helpless.

  • Vikram Tandon

    Arjun Singh is this extravaganza the only way to boost spirits?
    Could the money not be spent on PPEs and anything else which would make the lives of all hospital workers safer and better? As a thank you and to boost spirits? Tell them: we hear you?

  • Christine Pemberton

    Arjun Singh, dunno. I’d love to hear from doctor friends. But that spirit doesn’t address the issue of the stranded migrants, does it?

  • Arjun Singh

    Christine Pemberton No, it doesnt.
    Showering flowers on doctors doesnt reduce virus count or help solve any prob.
    Cracking jokes, keeping us happy at such sad times doesnt solve the virus prob. As well.
    Neither does giving inspirational speeches.
    But all these can help boost morale of someone whose so tired, who feels like this battle is a never ending war, who wants to just give up.
    These lil’ things helps more than you can imagine it does.
    By this Air show, Entire Indian Military helped build up confidence in the heart of such Doctors n let them know they are part of something much bigger, they are the real superheroes n they (Army) along with entire Nation is with them in this fight (specially at a time when hundreds of Doctors were brutally injured across India by some misguided people) it was a very important step to be taken to restore their confidence in this Nation.
    And about the migrant prob. Well, thousands of migrants are being transported to their respective Native places as we speak. You didnt need to compare this prob. With something so positive done in our Nation.
    Talking about problems Western Nations are facing them far far worse than India.
    Its been almost 2 months since covid 19 began in India n we still have witnessed less than 1200 deaths. Comparing to any European, North American, South American Nation our Nation is doing tremendously better.
    But i never saw you posting any kind of such positive news about the country you live in, although i did see you posting a dozen positive articles on China (a country the entire world despise) a country you wouldnt even be allowed to criticise if you were living in it.

  • Arjun Singh

    Vikram Tandon Well, cant everything be simple in this world.
    Why do we need a sports car or an average car, cant we be satisfied with a Maruti 800.
    Why do we need big/above average homes, cant we just live in tiny ones.
    Why do we need to live in big cities n earn much. Cant we live in a small town n earn less, afterall we are only meant to survive in this world, why not live like a monk, instead of trying so hard to live like a Millionaire.
    N about PPE’s, well Countries like U.S, U.K are facing a shortage of them as India is. N their economy is much richer than ours.
    N this show put up by the Army costs no additional money apart from the budget allotted to them, their weekly/monthly exercise result in same amount of fuel loss as it did today.
    But atleast today they did it for a cause.

  • Balbir Singh Gandhi

    Wonder, who gives such advice to PMO ??

  • Kiran Tandon

    Christine, Facebook lit up with doctors protesting this and saying, ‘who is going to clean up the mess?’ … which I thought was a valid comment. They also said ppe kits would have been a much better and contributory way of thanking them.
    Frankly feel so deeply ashamed that this is all that the forces could come up with at a time when we are all so distressed with migrants’ stories. We need solutions not empty theatrics like taali bajao, diya jalao and phool chadaho! And yes, I speak as the daughter of an army officer.

  • Christine Pemberton

    Arjun Singh, arre, I post loads of positive stuff about India. But I am not blind to the problems either.

  • Gaurav Sharma

    Arjun Singh Absolutely!! In this country “Doing” something or anything is a crime. But “Doing Nothing” is an asset! Like most of the liberals do..they do nothing and write looong essays that get published and people clap for them!! Because they seem to be the most aware people!!
    But, the sad part is they dont write about West Bengal, they don’t write about how the matters are being addressed!!
    They just POINT OUT….taali kyu, diya kyu, flower why?
    Irony!!

  • Arjun Singh

    Christine Pemberton Well, thats great if you do n i’ll be thankful to you for spreading positivity more than anyone else.

  • Christine Pemberton

    Thanks Arjun.

  • Julian Parr

    Bang on https://scroll.in/…/why-is-india-spending-money…

  • Adita Bhaskar

    Isn’t it amazing how those of us who sit in the safe comfort of our homes talk of boosting spirits of those who are actually on the frontlines. Its like telling a soldier, you need ammunition, but let us shower you with rose petals for your bravery while you continue to die as we would rather boost the spirits of those who watch the show!!! Come on.Lets be real. There are people in trouble. There is real stuff thats needed. There is a paucity of finances. Let’s use what is available for what is actually required. We can play to the gallery later!!
    That apart, its time to stop comparing us to other countries who have seeming faced a bigger crisis…Its like saying, we are all myopic and cant see, but the power of my lens is minus four and theirs is minus five!! The truth is…neither of us can see without the glasses.

  • Julene Want

    Yes very sad indeed. I can’t understand how these people are just ignored.

  • Nita Advani

    Sad for the migrants

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