Sunday, December 7, 2008

Welcome To The Real NewAge: Where The Rich Make You Sit In Your Own Shit (And Call It Gold)

"The three-day siege of Mumbai, which ended a week ago, was a watershed for India’s prosperous classes. It prompted many of those who live in their own private Indias, largely insulated from the country’s dysfunction, to demand a vital public service: safety.

...In India’s city of gold, the distinction between public and private can be bewildering.

For members of the working class, who often cannot afford housing, public sidewalks become living rooms.

In the morning, commuters from gated communities in the suburbs pass children brushing their teeth at the edge of the street. Women are forced to relieve themselves on the railway tracks, usually in the dark, for the sake of modesty.

The poor sometimes sleep on highway medians, and it is not unheard of for drunken drivers to mow them down.

Mumbai has been roiled by government neglect for years. Its commuter trains are so overcrowded that 4,000 riders die every year on average, some pushed from trains in the fierce competition to get on and off. Monsoons in 2005 killed more than 400 people in Mumbai in one day alone; so clogged were the city’s ancient drains, so crowded its river plains with unauthorized construction that water had nowhere to go."

-- Somini Sengupta, describing life throughout the Dalai Lama's adopted home - and one of the NewAge's supreme spiritual "power spots" - for The New York Times.

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