Toilets without water or water without toilets?

After attracting paparazzo’s to take photographs of the politicians with broom sticks in hands, pretending to sweep the town in the energetic Swatch Bharat mission few months ago, another cleanliness drive ‘Clean Darjeeling, Green Darjeeling’ is initiated in the Darjeeling hills. Wow!

Politicians were already above the fold in newspapers available in this region but what’s the point?

And development was what we all cried for, isn’t it? Now 53,000 toilets will be constructed in Darjeeling district and we’ve probably applauded in Chief Minister’s declaration in D-Town like fools.

But, there is a question which nobody wants to answer. In case you know, tell me is there enough water to flush the eliminated wastes in the yet-to-construct-toilets?

Development does not always mean ‘constructions’ solving the basic requirements of people is development.

Last landslide destroyed many properties and some people of the outskirts are still not rehabilitated, but here, a mission had to be stood, a clean-green mission. Yes, we need toilets but we need water first, else the condition of the newly constructed restrooms will be like the public-toilets seen in town.

A friendly suggestion that would not deflect the clean mission is, ‘the cleanliness of the existing public toilets of Kalimpong.’ My point is, if staffs are assigned there to take money from people who drop in to urinate, they should also have someone to clean the washroom, or don’t charge money if it’s not meant to be clean. (I am not against anyone constructing 53,000 toilets for the poor, by the way!)

But in a broader sense, why do we keep pestering the administrations when we don’t have a clean mind? If we had, the doors of the public toilets would never be filled with uncouth doodles. (I being a reporter mislay my pen frequently but I salute those people who make a point to carry pens in public toilets, seriously!)

And if missions like ‘Swatch Bharat Abhiyan’ restrain impractically just in newspapers, where can clean-green mission head to?

Getting back to 53,000 toilets once again, I’m afraid, which water connections will be reached to their ends? I am not aware of the suburbs of Kalimpong but here in town, I have recorded criticisms banging on PHE’s head when it comes to water.

And the same criticisms shoved by the apolitical organizations to PHE for providing no water or muddy water (in some cases) are the mainstream conversations heard in town lately.

So, meanwhile I research more on the water and 53,000 toilets, just decide what do you want? Toilets without water? Or water without toilets? Or just water?

Some little freedom

Varinka Turquoise

representative picture.

representative picture.

We proudly honor the day of independence,
but we somehow live in other’s dependence
Freed ourselves from the rule of British’s
but women’ today still have unfilled wishes.

Walk free, wear shorts and guys won’t hoot
Tall dark man touches her waste and walks off in brown boot
Celebrate freedom-day in your way
here we scream, we shout, but who listens to our say?

All these are some little freedom we need, we are yet to be free
if neglected, many young victims will hang themselves in a tree.
If you think India is an independent country-think again
cyber bullies, eve teasers, molesters and rapist, don’t let lives go in vain

Be a man enough to respect every figures of a lady,
you might be blessed with a daughter tomorrow who will also turn into a lady
you talk about celebrations and feasts which you set on your table
but today, a road without eve teasers and gapers are a mere fable

Wish ‘happy freedom day’ to every random passer-by
here Bharat-Mata too may veil her face, feeling shy
Think how free are we to express ourselves in words or prints?
We write, we speak but tomorrow, in our face a Politian leaves their fingerprints

And we talk about freedom!
We still have to work a lot to achieve a real freedom.
Let’s come along and march a parade demanding for a real freedom.
For today, tomorrow and every day, we need to fight for a real freedom.

The Independent-day-parade

-Varinka Turquoise

I remember the sultry afternoon of the bygones
And the uninvited raindrops,
Witnessed from the pavilion with colorful umbrella-roofs-
The chanting left-right-left, clattering kettledrums, and melodic flute
Ah! It was the independent-day-parade!

Houseful, roof-less auditorium, and the blowing bubbles.
We were kids, fifteen monsoons back.
Who loved cracking hundreds of peanut shells till the end of the parade.
The independent-day-parade!

Push and pull of families, and quarrels for the water dripping seats
Hostility seen when the umbrella curtained the vision of the ground,
Schools, scouts and guides, all neat
Unworried about marching on the meadow-less land

Remember the standing ovation and lingering applause
When your school marched down the stairs,
And the VIP’s shielded in roofs, comfortably seated on warm chairs.
Ice-creams to Thakpa’s pork momos,
People thoroughly enjoyed the independent-day-parade.

The same day, a by-sitter unpacks his green cucumber with salted chilly
And his wife offers another onlooker a home-made beverage.
They exchange their foods and then befriends.
Close the umbrella once the sun peeks and open it as it drizzles.

Today, a different set of children sits in the roofless auditorium,
Checking their cellphones and taking selfies once in a while.
We hardly took a picture with the reel camera which our father owned then,
For we had to save the reels till Diwali or New Year!

Today, the bubbles are blown only by the sellers
And the town looks adorned with multiplied, moveable balloon stalls,
Many sellers and fewer buyers, children are happy with their cellphone
And the noose of DSLR’s hung around their neck

But cracking peanuts and chomping them with black salts, Aah!
Cucumbers with salted chilly and mother-made food
All eaten in the damped seats
Watching the parade with these things had different taste altogether-fifteen monsoons back.

Happy Independent Day Poetry Readers,
This poetess Loves you.