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Saturday, July 20, 2024

An Open Letter to the Rain Gods: A Humble Request to Spare Goa’s Roads and Infrastructure


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Dear Rain Gods,

We know you mean well. You’re here to nourish the earth, fill our rivers, and bring the lush greenery that Goa is famous for. But can we have a moment of your time to discuss a rather delicate issue? It’s about our roads and infrastructure. Could you, perhaps, ease up a little on your enthusiasm? Just a smidgen?

Let’s set the scene: a postcard-perfect day in Goa, the sun shining, tourists strolling along the beach, locals going about their business, and the roads… well, let’s not mince words. The roads are a patchwork quilt of potholes and half-hearted repairs, a testament to our illustrious infrastructure planning. Enter you, dear Rain Gods, with your torrential downpours and whimsical monsoon patterns, and suddenly, what was already a precarious drive turns into an aquatic obstacle course.

It’s not that we don’t appreciate your visits. We do. But have you ever considered the havoc you wreak when you decide to open the floodgates? Our roads, which already resemble a patchy football field, transform into rivers, swallowing vehicles, and unveiling the shoddy workmanship of our beloved authorities. It’s almost as if you take joy in exposing every poorly laid brick, every skimped-on layer of tar, and every hastily patched-up pothole.

And then there’s the drainage system. Or should we say, the lack thereof? Your relentless showers reveal just how ill-prepared our infrastructure is for your mighty presence. Streets transform into canals, sewage systems overflow, and the urban landscape starts to resemble a rather soggy version of Venice, albeit with fewer gondolas and more floating debris.

We understand that the authorities have a lot on their plate. Planning, budgeting, and the odd time spent listening to music or watching videos in the office. But every time you decide to pour down with all your might, it becomes painfully evident that perhaps, just perhaps, a little more attention could be paid to the basics of road and drainage maintenance.

Panjim, our pride as a beacon of the Smart City initiative, seems to have confused “smart” with “aquatic” as it grapples with severe flooding. The city’s advanced infrastructure initiatives have been given a thorough test by the monsoon rains, only to reveal that the drainage systems work best as swimming lanes. With streets doubling as canals, homes resembling indoor pools, and traffic mimicking Venetian gondolas, Panjim’s urban development aspirations have taken a soggy detour. The persistent flooding, which one might mistake for a new tourism strategy, disrupts daily life and poses public health and safety risks. It seems our next smart move should be installing lifebuoys and rubber boots as part of the sustainable urban planning toolkit.

Imagine this, dear Rain Gods: if you could just dial it down a notch, our authorities wouldn’t be caught in a flurry of “emergency repairs” every monsoon. They could actually plan ahead, lay down roads that don’t disintegrate at the first sign of water, and construct drainage systems that actually, you know, drain. It would be a win-win for everyone. You could still grace us with your showers, and we could drive without feeling like we’re in a scene from “The Perfect Storm.”

But alas, the reality is far from this utopian vision. Each year, we brace ourselves for the inevitable deluge, knowing full well that our infrastructure will buckle under the pressure. We watch as hastily patched roads dissolve into puddles, and hastily constructed buildings sprout leaks like overzealous fountains and spas. It’s a ritual, really. One that could be almost endearing if it weren’t so, well, dangerous and inconvenient.

So, dear Rain Gods, we beseech you. Next time you gather your clouds and prepare to bestow your watery blessings upon us, spare a thought for our beleaguered infrastructure. Consider the plight of the daily commuter, the hapless pedestrian, and the poor municipal workers who have to clean up the mess. We know you have the power to wash away the grime and dust, but must you also wash away our roads and bridges?

If our heartfelt plea doesn’t move you, then perhaps consider it from a different angle. The longer our infrastructure remains intact, the longer we can enjoy your rains without fear of being swept away. We can sit in our homes, sipping hot chai and watching the downpour, instead of wading through waist-deep water, cursing our luck and the questionable competency of our road engineers.

In conclusion, dear Rain Gods, we understand your importance and the beauty you bring to our land. But could you please, just this once, go easy on us? Let’s make a deal: you keep raining, but just a little less ferociously, and we’ll do our best to get our act together on the infrastructure front. Who knows? With a little less pressure, our authorities might even surprise us with some decent roads next year.

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