A car was honking behind me, “Let him pass!” I told my driver, and my driver quite reluctantly gave way. I smiled as I remembered a story about a doctor who was called one evening for an urgent surgery for a little boy. He answered the call, changed his clothes, reached the hospital in minutes and went directly to the surgery block.  He found the boy's father waiting in the hall for the doctor. On seeing him, the dad yelled: "Why did you take all this time to come? Don't you know that my son's life is in danger? Don't you have any sense of responsibility?"

What is it that is blinding our people? A bridge that stretches out into the sea, tunnels, metros and bullet trains that cut short travel time and that speak of a new India, equal to the west. They think they see progress.

But is it?

In my recent visit to New York, it was a strange sight I saw. Not just subways, gigantic bridges and lengthy tunnels. Oh yes, they were all there, but what I saw was freedom written on the faces of people.

Years ago one of the first songs I loved playing on my harmonica was the Negro Spiritual, “Gone Are The Days.” It was a sad song and had a plaintive melody but ended with the words, “I’m coming!” as the black slave sang out to his God that he would soon be with Him. A friend sent me these words below, which reminded me of the same song and days gone by:

Gone are the days when we queued up in the book depot, and got our new books and notes. The days when we wanted two Sundays and no Mondays, yet managed to line up daily for the morning prayers.

The little boy was weeping outside the closed doors of the church. His tears flowed like tsunami waves down his check. A stranger passing by, stopped and enquired, “Why are you crying little boy, that too outside a church?”

The little boy looked up to the stranger and said, “The priest could not pray for my mother! She’s dying, but before I could reach the priest to ask him to pray for her, the doors were closed!”

Though the remarks by the Maldives deputy minister in ridiculing our PM as a ‘clown’ and a ‘puppet’ are immature and uncalled for, I do believe the bigger thing to have been done in this situation was for the PM to have laughed it off, instead of making it a focus of so much discussion and activity. Suddenly a huge amount of money is being poured into Lakshadweep in retaliation, but are there better causes for those same funds than that of building an alternative to the Maldives tourism, just to retaliate?