Monday, June 11, 2012

Much Ado About Crap & Loo Rooms

The crap has hit the fan.  Along with it much pee has flown  in the country.  Nay, Nay don’t get me wrong. It is not about Anna or Baba refusing to pee or deliver the crap for the day to show solidarity with millions of poor Indian women suffering silently with cultivated constipation because they did not get an opportunity before dawn to relieve themselves on the roadside. Neither it is about millions of poor Indian men, peeing straight on a wall or a bush in the open.  Oops!! Sorry, for bracketing them in the category of “ Poor”. They each spend a day Rs 28  for all their worldly needs and how dare I call them poor. Apologies for my ignorance.

Back to the  issue of crap and pee of the privileged few that has raised much stink recently. This is about our august body, the Planning Commission  and its honorable Vice Chairman defending the “renovation of  2 toilets” ( actually they are 2 wash rooms ) in the Planning Commission’s office at a cost of 3 million rupees. And of course, precautions need to be taken to prevent other less privileged mortals in the same building from even having a look at these swanky places. So another half-a-million is spent to install access control and issue smart cards for just 60 of the privileged elite. All this info unfortunately had to be shared by the Planning Commission because of one  Right To Information ( RTI ) activist thumbing his nose into the crappy affairs of the Planning Commission. What a shame!. The government must immediately invoke the Official Secrets Act  enacted by  the Mughal ruler, Babar or the most recent one enacted for India by the British just 200 years back to punish any one who thumbs his nose into the smelly affairs of the privileged bureaucracy.

Since no such act has been extended for the matter in debate by the government, reams and reams are allocated for condemnation  in print media and panelists of all hues in visual media are just having a verbal diarrhea. What nonsense. These journalists and commentators seem to have no sense of understanding of how important it is to have  classy swank loos and crap pots in office, with Italian marble, Brazilian mirrors, best of the class faucets and fragrant toilet rolls.

However, we need not despair. Even though our intelligentsia and common men decried the need for such an extravaganza, our intelligent politicians immediately grasped the need for such essential items. So the Union Cabinet which met for the first time after the revelations on renovation, relegated all unimportant matters such as falling industrial output, currency slide, massive fuel price hike, economy in doldrums and discussed about the farsighted vision and approach to loos and crap pots of the Planning Commission in general and the Vice Chairman Dr.Montek in particular. Let us not be surprised if our parliamentarians in unison  vote for adding such swanky facilities in their quarters next parliament session  like they did every time to hike their pay and allowances.

The RTI activist, apart from bringing out into open the indulgence of Dr Montek and the importance he gives to luxurious way of peeing to discharge his duties, has also solved the mystery and perplexing declaration of the Planning Commission a few weeks back in declaring that anyone spending Rs 28 ( close to half a dollar) a day for every need is above the poverty line.  Dr. Montek has very vigourously defended this decision and here could be the reason.

During May and October 2011, Dr Montek made several  overseas trips, 18 nights, at a cost of 3.5 million rupees public money.  During these trips,  while crapping in the luxury of 5 star hotels, he realized that if India has to progress it should start with modernizing the most basic infrastructure, the toilets. He has fairly succeeded in this  field, judging by the curiosity and envy it generated amongst our cabinet ministers. One day recently when he has finished filling the newly installed crap pot in his office, tickled by the jet of water from the health faucet auto cleaning his arse, his brain cells became hyper active and he started seriously thinking on how to reduce poverty in the country.  As he was drying his arse with the scented satin smooth toilet paper, the revelation struck him.  Like Buddha after enlightenment, Dr Montek’s face radiated a serenity never seen before. With a contended smile, he adjusted his neck tie in the Brazilian mirror, smoothened the creases of his 3-piece Armani suit, looked around him at the toilet, grunted in satisfaction and called for a meeting of the Planning Commission the next day to discuss the vexatious  issue of poverty.  Each member in no time trooped into the wash room. While peeing,  Dr Montek in earnest talked about the imperative need to bring millions of Indians above the poverty line. Every member agreed with a vigorous shake.  Looking at the members, with a benign smile Dr Montek shared with them his brilliant idea of pegging the amount an Indian spends a day for all his needs at a certain threshold to move him from Below the Poverty Line. But no one could come out with the monetary number required for the poor for a day to survive. After much deliberation, the members agreed that the amount will be the same as the number of loo and crap pots in the renovated wash rooms. There were 28 of them. Hence, it was declared that from now on those spending Rs 28 a day would no longer be treated as poor in India.  With one gesture, more than 300 million Indians were rescued from abject poverty.

A few days later, the Union Government announced a major sop to the Now-No-Longer-Poor Indians. It has raised the subsidy from Rs 8,500 to Rs 10,000 for construction of toilets in their “ homes”.

A few weeks later, the Prime Minister has called for all Government agencies to tighten the belt. No, No not after crapping. The call was to bring in austerity at all levels.

India might lack in several things but never in humour.