Rant on Mumbai

Yesterday I was coming back from some place at around 9 (pm). To reach home, I cross the most godforsaken place in the world - Saki Naka (the wikipedia article does not do justice to the fuckery this place is. And its worse than the place where I live in Delhi). Since I knew that I was going to get stuck in traffic, I was in a really foul mood. This is when I looked out of the rick and saw a man my father's age running behind a bus, trying to catch it. He had a backpack and he was wearing regular trousers and a shirt. At the risk of generalizing, he looked like a clerk or some other administrative person - one of the millions in the great Indian middle-class. 

Since there was traffic, the bus was barely crawling ahead. My rick was right behind the bus and the man was literally running parallel to the rick I was in. And since the man was old, he could run only at a certain speed and the crawl-speed of the bus was more than what the man could run at. He knew and I knew and probably everyone around knew that he was not going to catch the bus. And yet he kept chasing the bus. Despite the inevitable, he continued to chase. And he did it with all the fervor he could.

As the traffic opened up, the bus zoomed ahead and whatever little hopes that man had of catching the bus went in smoke. And the man finally quit the chase. With a shrug. And then he started to walk. And there was some purpose in the way he walked! I loved it. I loved the way he went about it. I wish I had that spirit. I wish I had the grit that he had.

Anyhow while I was thinking about it, I realized a few things.

A. He was old. If my father were to run like that, I would be really really sad. And come to think of it, my father has used public transport all his life. Am sure he would have chased buses and trains while working. Me on the other hand, I have used public transport only till the time I was in the college. After that I had a bike. And enough money to hire a rickshaw or taxi or something private. I am extremely lucky to have a family that has supported me with all that.

B. While I may crib about my inability to make enough money and get sad about it, there are so so many people that have far less than what I have and are struggling with even the basics, and yet they are happy. I mean that old man. He was ok to run to catch his bus. And I am sure it must be a routine for him. And yet he was ok with it. He knows that he will win some and lose some. And here I am. Who's never had to lose anything!

C. Mumbai is a tough tough place to live in. My life is little comfortable - I have a big enough place to live in, enough money to pay for rickshaws and Ubers, enough money to eat what I want to, when I want to, where I want to, enough to take those foreign holidays and so on and so forth. And despite all this, I feel strained. The mere existence in Mumbai is tough. At times I want to leave everything and move to the mountains - which I would've done if I #tnks had sold well (after all purpose, passion and success are all interlinked!). May be I would if #book2 does well. I dont know if I can be a Ruskin Bond but I would try.

I digressed. The point is, Mumbai is a tough tough place to live in! And I have been shielded from the toughness to a large extent. I do not know what dirt and grime and heat and dust is like. I just cry like a baby. I need to stop that.

D. While the spirit struggle of Mumbai is a great thing, I am not sure I appreciate that a place could put such a large chunk of humanity in such miserable conditions. And each person is trapped in Mumbai because they dont have anywhere else to go, anything else to do. The ones who've made it are ok, the ones who haven't are too tired to move on. Life looks hunky dory from our Ubers and air-conditioned offices and lavish parties at five-stars and view from atop the high-rises and occasional travels abroad and fancy things that we talk while we work. But in real life, life is lot more than that. And we need to somehow learn.

If nothing, the resolve to help the ones who lost on the ovarian lottery is now stronger. Once I have reached a point when I have made enough (I dont know what is enough), I would really work towards generating employment, elevating the lives, education and health. Basically go the Bill Gates way. Some day. Not today. I could jump in today but the impact that I would have would be limited. I dont want to impact ten lives. I would rather do create a fortune and then use that to bring about change on a larger scale. Like Bill Gates! Again I am digressing. The point is that Mumbai is a tough place to make a living. And the scene yesterday made me rethink my choice to stay in Mumbai.

Oh, to end this, barely five minutes after I saw that old man, I saw another man - this time far younger, sprinting behind a bus that he knew that he was never going to catch. He was in a Jet Airways uniform and looked like a loader or helper. The he was running, it was remarkable! I dont think I can run like ever! Plus, the thing is, he would've walked from the airport to the junction and then must have missed his bus. Life is so fucking tough and here I am lamenting about my inability to afford a car or a better lifestyle!

Oh Mumbai - the maya nagri! It is so so difficult to love you. And even more difficult to hate you!

1 comment:

Shrishti Kumar said...

Liked reading your post.Mumbai is undoubtedly special, offering loads of experience. I too have my outlook towards the city and what it offers.

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