just back from Kanpur from a shoot.
four years ago when i was there it did not seem like the most polluted city in the country. but this time when i woke up early in the morning to shoot to the city skyline dotted with factory chimneys, i realized what they meant.
first the sun refused to come out and when it did, the chimneys started spewing smoke. the sky was black within minutes. very Charles Dickens. very 19th century England (the city was called the Manchester of the east). soon the black smoke resembled a large cloud and it looked like it was about to rain. this haze hung in the air the entire day. as the traffic increased, the smog seemed to settle - hugging the ground.
while air was killing you slowly and the city was killing the river as revenge. being the largest city along the Ganga, kanpur pollutes like hell - the tanneries, the factories and the untreated sewage - you take your pick. the waters are black, and the river side stinks.
no one seemed to notice all this. devotees still come to the river, the city thrives. factories and tanneries still offer jobs, the traffic is fast on Lucknow road, people look busy on the streets and there is even a new multiplex - Rave 3 showing the latest movies. stepping inside it looked like any mall in Delhi. the crowds were there eating burgers at Mac and drinking coffees at Barista.
while it is true that the benefits of the global village (the world is flat and all the crap) are reaching small cities, there is no thought given to the environment or how we are screwing up our futures.
as i watched the latest flick involving John A and a football, i couldn't shake off the image of the dark sky i saw at seven in the morning.