The great divide!

The great divide!

I cracked why we are a third world country, said Subbu Why our economy is under stress

‘I cracked why we are a third world country,’ said Subbu. ‘Why our economy is under stress.’

‘Why?’ I asked happy to know Subbu had made major breakthroughs in such a critical area.

‘Because we are working at 50% efficiency,’ he said, observing the road.

‘What do you mean?’ I asked.

‘Look at the road,’ he said. ‘What do you see?’

I saw several hundred people lined up on either side, waiting to cross the road as a sea of traffic zoomed past. After a few minutes, a suicidal group of people tried to run across the road towards the divider which loomed like the Great Wall of China or the Berlin Wall in its prime.

Most suicide runners survived the run while others were run over by the traffic. The ones who survived tried to clamber the wall with their bare nails and some slipped and slid back into the traffic.

The next batch was that of suicide walkers who closed their eyes tightly, put up their hands in surrender and waded into the traffic with a prayer on their lips and thoughts of their near and dear in their minds.

Vehicles screeched and screamed and some crashed into one another and some crashed into the believers. Watching this mayhem a few hundred more took a few steps forward and then retreated many steps back.

While waiting, young people turned into middle aged people, middle aged people turned into old people and so on. After waiting for some divine help or for the traffic to abate due to rising fuel prices in vain, about 90% of the people returned to their homes unable to cross the road. Old people died waiting, young school kids were deprived of their education.

‘Now you understand?’ said my friend. ‘That’s why our economy is stuck.’

‘Because people cannot cross the road?’ I asked.

‘Yes of course,’ he said. ‘What do you think will happen if their jobs, markets, families and banks are on the other side of the road? How will they ever get there if everyday they come and find they cannot cross the road and return back to their homes? That means that only one half of our country is dealing with one half only right? 50% is excluded for them.’

‘OMG!’ I exclaimed as the penny dropped. ‘Now I get it. We are divided not by anything else but by roads. We are two countries in one. Our growing economy is split by our growing infrastructure.’

’Not just the economy,’ said my friend. ‘We have become culturally, psychologically and socially divided from the other side thanks to these roads, dividers, metros and what not. People who had gone the other side for a few days are stuck there forever because they cannot cross these roads and there is no way except to fly across and parachute down.’

I nodded.

‘People are finding jobs on their side of the divide,’ said Subbu. ‘They are finding wives from the other side so their in-laws cannot visit them ever. They are taking loans from banks on the other side so they don’t have to pay them back. They are adopting new children because their children are on the other side. Some are digging tunnels.’

Wow. Social, cultural, industrial, criminal, all sorts of changes just by this development. I was awestruck.

‘So what’s the solution?’ I asked.

‘We could bridge the divide,’ he said.

‘How?’ I asked.

‘By building bridges over these dividers,’ he said. ‘Development breeds development.’

‘But our last attempt at development brought our efficiency down to 50%,’ I protested. ‘Now this could quarter it.

Tell me honestly? Do you think we are better off doing nothing?’ Subbu nodded.

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