Plastic bags may be banned in the Indian state of Maharashtra due to concerns that by clogging the city’s drains they contributed to the floods that swept the coast last month and brought life to a halt in buzzing Bombay. There are protests from the predictable quarters; apparently, 20,000 people in the state are employed to painstakingly manufacture thin bags that are good for carrying one coconut for ten yards before stretching out and leaving you with a bag with a hole in it but no coconut.

Maharashtra is, famously, the home of Bollywood, which churns out so many movies at such a breakneck pace that hilariously strange and cliched plot devices  are regularly and shamelessly deployed. In the world of Bollywood movies, doves reliably deliver love letters, and the handsome stranger one demurely flirts with on a train ride across Europe will invariably turn out to be the man your Punjabi parents have decided you must marry. So how hard can it be to incorporate plastic bags, and their inadequacy in re transport of coconuts and other goods, in Bollywood movies? Important love letters could get lost due to thin plastic bags, providing a tragic and dramatically necessary impediment to young love … Heavy objects could fall from a torn bag directly on the hero’s tender foot, thus preventing him from making a rendezvous with his amour and forcing her to tearfully marry another.

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