Frisco, a nickname of San Francisco, the 14th most populous US city with about 7 million people taking the Bay Area into consideration, is a wealthy and picturesque place to live in. Yet, according to Caille Millner, the San Francisco Chronicle editorial writer, Frisco is a less safe place than Kolkata where she has just been to.
Caille doesn’t hide her disappointment that a city like Kolkata with thousands of destitute and homeless people would feel more safe than one of the top-class US cities like San Francisco. Indeed some of the comments to her article do suggest a degree of indignation that Caille should feel so. And herein lies an irony.
I’m reminded of an article in The Hindi Business Line that reported the findings of a survey done by MTV Networks International. The survey found that 60% of the Indians in the age group of 16-34 are happy, while the figure plummets to just about 8% in case of Japan.
Less than 30% of American youth feel happy with the way things are. Looking at these dismal figures it is not difficult to understand why incidents like cybersuicide pacts in Japan or shooting carnage at Virginia Tech University in the US occur.
Caille does speak about the gun culture in US, but she fails to touch upon why such tragic incidents take place at regular intervals.
I do not however wish to suggest that life is like paradise in Kolkata. In fact at times life is so hellish that given half a chance one wouldn’t mind going to US for greener pastures, and I count myself in that group.
The point though remains that wealth is not the first necessity to feel happy, and therefore safe. For many of us if there is money in the pocket, it feels good. If not, it doesn’t feel bad either.