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    Supplying Our Backsides

    In India the whole system seems to work on a simple philosophy - a lot should go into the system with too little coming out as return. The Commonwealth Games is the latest example of our system's modus-operandi. The money that went in could easily surpass the combined 10 years budget of few African countries like Uganda, Somalia, Namibia and many more. In return what we got is our Delhi dug up to pre-independence era and a whole lot of Dengue. Not only CWG, in general there seems to be a huge supply-chain mechanism failure. The irony is - every time the first part of the supply-chain system seems to be adequately addressed but it fails in the second part. Supply is fed in but somehow the chain breaks right after that.

    Otherday I went to buy my favorite filter coffee. The shopkeeper shook his head vigorously. Filter Coffee nehin hai sir. Backside se supply band hai, he added. Then I went to the fish man to see, if I could get some prawns. Prawns nehin hai sahib, said the fish man. This time I beat him to the punch line. Backside se supply bandh hai kya? I asked. Bilkul, ji, he affirmed. Backside se supply bilkul hi bandh hai. Prawnless as well as coffeeless, I ruminated on this ubiquitous Indian backside that constantly seemed to seize up in a fit of selective constipation which could nip in the bud, so to speak, supplies of one thing or the other, be it coffee, prawns or anything else. You come home, tired after a hard day's slog. There's no bijli. You phone the local bijli station. What are you told? Backside se supply bandh hai. You go to wash your face. Turn on the tap. Which splutters two drops and dries up. This time you don't have to ask anyone. You tell yourself in the mirror: Backside se supply bandh hai.

    I think of a vast, national backside, poised in mid-motion, straining mightily to produce the requisite supply — of bijli, paani, health services, essential commodities like food grains and edible oil, inessential commodities like coffee and prawns - but all in costive vain. Try as it might, it just can't seem to deliver itself of the necessary supply after being fed with enough input.

    Take for example the amount that our Sarkar spends (or so do they say) on tribal development, and reconfirmed by Rahul Gandhi's pan-India speeches, which is pretty much a standard. As per the prince, the money that leaves Delhi in various trucks just doesn't reach the tribal for whom it is designated. So where the money going? Must be somewhere as economics says - for every credit, there is a debit and vice-a-versa. Instead of the money getting credited on tribal development account it gets credited on Babu's bank account. And what the tribal guys have to hear? Yes, you guessed it - backside se supply bandh hai. Rahul Gandhi reiterated time and again that Delhi doesn't have a back that is clogged, more so when it comes to tribal and minority development. As per him supply from their backside is adequate but surprisingly in between someone has a backside having serious constipation problem and just doesn't allow the supply-chain flow to continue but blame on Delhi's backside instead, which is unfair. Points taken but. whose hapless back is constipated doesn't matter as long as the money reaches to the designated recipients. Isn't it also the responsibility of our Kendriya Sarkar to see, not only they themselves doesn't suffer from some constipation but also the thousand other backsides in the total chain?

    This niggardliness of 'backside supply' might mystify those who, if anything, tend to identify India with the polar opposite of backside deficiency: namely, a backside profligacy, amounting almost to incontinence, as represented by that endemic bane of visitors and indigenes alike, known variously as Delhi belly, Bombay bog-trot, and Calcutta collywobbles. But while individual backsides are indeed notoriously susceptible to these and similar afflictions, the generic Indian backside in toto is perennially plagued by the contrary problem of too little supply, or sometimes none at all, rather than too much.

    The Indian backside — generic, not particular — has a curious anatomical structure, as demonstrated by the frequently seen directional signs on houses and shops: Entrance from backside. Even as the pan-Indian backside remains resolutely thrifty in meting out supplies ('backside se supply bandh hai') we are at one and the same time routinely urged to enter each other's backsides. How does one explain the enigma of the one-way Indian backside: no supplies coming out, but plenty of access going in? Maybe it's just a way of our Sarkar and other powers-that-be telling us that the only thing not in short supply is what in local parlance is aptly known as a bumboo. Which is only too frequently administered to our haplessly receptive backsides. The 'Entrance' to which being clearly and helpfully marked.

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