Migoodness, we NRIs are fragile.
Four days in Delhi and I am nursing a cold, cough and chest congestion and been moved on to antibiotics.
As the capital returns to spiked pollution levels and the dubious pleasure of traffic jams and endless horn blowing chaos, you wonder what prompts people from not saving themselves without sanction from the authorities.
Do we really need to seek a clearance from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to continue the experiment?
People loved the thinning of vehicles on the road, the Dilliwallahs understood the dangers of the dirty air we breathe and came to the party. Even the rich joined in after a mandatory social squeak or two and not one person I met was against the drive.
It is amazing how in the first couple of days, the cynicism went out with the fumes and people adjusted.
Yes, of course, there would be some glitches, the worst of them being late evening and early morning high intensity traffic but we cannot deny it felt good to be on the roads.
Why go back to normal? Normal sucks big time. It is ugly and gross and to have the worst air in the world is no great matter of honour.
As I sit smelling of Vicks and sniffling pathetically, I cannot believe that 18 million residents would tamely and unquestioning put the Odd-Even concept into cotton wool and voluntarily go back into the foul atmosphere.
An atmosphere that is 10 times the danger mark. And that is in the better places. Over 80 people dying every damn day of bronchially related ailments and complications. Children being afflicted with asthma before they even start their school lives.
Now we re-invite them into a toxic laden smog cloud and totally surrender our sense of responsibility.
What on earth is wrong with us that we would not even bring up the option of cleaning our own air?
I can understand that before January 1 there was deep doubt that it would fly but it did. Delhi responded better than the other 16 cities on the planet which have done this. No other city in the world rose to the occasion like Delhi did. Defaulters were given roses and there were scarcely any ugly incidents.
And in these short two weeks the levels fell by 25%.
It works and the people of Delhi have the will. Everyone I talked to, rich and poor was extolling the virtues of driving from point A to point B in relative comfort.
So where are the NGOs and the media, the local MLAs and the community pillars, why not start your own Odd-Even system in your colony, in your little patch of blue, become the neighbourhood watchdog, pool your cars, make a deal, start small and then link up with your neighbours and create a network of common sense and self preservation?
No one needs permission to save one’s life and rescue children from inhaling gunk.
Don’t go back to the old ways… they are a one way street to disaster.