GADGETS THAT FAIL TO FUNCTION

Some call it a gadget
Some call it a widget
Sometimes it is called a phenomenon ornate
Sometimes, a marvel innate
Sometimes, a technical floodgate
Sometimes, an Act of Fate.
It may be a Social Custom
It may be a Complex System
It is for comfort
Or, it is for stainless effort
Or, for life healthy
Or, for every imaginable remedy.
That is supposed to be its trait.
But, how well it works
Or, whether at all it works
Well, that part you better forget !
Here are some examples
that one can get
and relate.

A peeler that doesn’t peel
A chiller that doesn’t chill
A griller that doesn’t grill
A thriller that fails to thrill

Bath-showers that constantly leak
Cordless phones that just don’t speak
Landline-phones that transmit hum rather than speech
Mobile phones that have a troubled-reach

Aerosol-sprays that don’t kill roaches
New swanky locals, with broken-down coaches
Super-fast trains that just don’t rush
Toilet-tanks that just don’t flush.

A microwave-oven that doesn’t heat the contents
A washing machine that doesn’t clean garments
Safes which are not thief-proof
House after house, with a caved-in roof

Freshly tarmac-ed highways, still full of potholes
Bending of elevated metro-rail’s supporting poles
Jet-setting automobiles which have to crawl on roads
Bridges that fall down due to loads.

Liquor that doesn’t give a kick
Cameras that refuse to click
A dry oil-well, with still-standing derrick
A sea-shore with a fast-spreading oil-slick.

An imported massager-pillow that blows up
An life-saving operation, where,
due to strike, no one shows up
Anxious children, with a suddenly cancelled Board-exam
And the blocked transport-network due to a ‘chakka-jaam’.

Monsoon that always floods the city
And still, the perennial water-scarcity.
Drainage-pipes that always choke
Dedicated NGOs that go broke

The Terrorists’ ever-increasing spate
The gangsterism that doesn’t abate
A densely-packed computer hard-disk,
where a virus eats all data
A densely-packed country,
where a virus eats many lives across all strata.

A megapolis full of slums and hutments
A Secretariat that can’t remove encroachments
The administrative system, where corruption is rampant
The financial-network, where ‘Kalaa Paisa’ is abundant.

Bottled-drinks having pesticides’ traces
Laws that allow ages to lapse, before resolving cases
The voting that no one loves
Polling-booths, full with paid-droves
The rationing-shops that black-market the ‘ration’
And, Governments that forget
promises made during the election.

Governments have
something called Budgets
They are government’s useful gadgets.
Some might work a little for a time,
But, most fail.
Year after year,
we see new Budgets
that are of no avail.

Ours is a developing nation
( God knows when it will be a developed one ! )
Democracy is its tradition.
Call it an institution
Or, call it the result of the Constitution
Call it the spirit of a Free Nation
Or, call it an Utopian notion
Call it a magic potion
Or, call it fiction !

Does democracy work in this country?
Or, has it failed?
Don’t you give your true opinion ;
You will be jailed !

Then, there is pollution.
There is a search for a solution
There is a gambit
to control pollution’s ambit .

Groups of nations
talk of stopping pollution’s expansion
But there are tensions
Between the nations
There are disagreements on the detail
The deliberations are of no avail.

And, what everyone had loudly hailed
Alas! That Kyoto Protocol has failed
The juggernaut of pollution never derailed.

The next destination
for the program’s extension
and, for pollution’s extinction
was Copenhagen.

Everyone was sanguine
There was hope genuine
That this time,
wiser counsel will prevail.
But, my friend,
Didn’t this new gadget too fail ?

A long list of failed wishes
A longer list of near-misses
The never-ending strife of miserable midgets
And, fresh slogans for new gadgets.

Gadgets will come
Gadgets will fail !
This is a never-ending trail
This is a never-ending tale !

– – –

( From my Book ‘The Earth In Custody’ )

– Subhash S. Naik

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