Skip to main content

The gravediggers ... Mumbai ravaged

There was a slightly old Economic Times lying around in our bedroom. I glanced upon what was written on it as I was tidying up. The article was about Gollman Sach's take on the BRIC countries. 'I' standing for India. And how these would dominate the word even faster than earlier predicted.

Those of us who work in multinational companies would have possibly come across the spiel about how India is the future and how everyone's excited about the 'India story'. You would have heard the same people going gaga about the service in Jet Airways when they come here. And you are probably reading this post on a state of the art laptop or phone. The latest the world has to offer.

But a look out of the window of your home, office or car shows a very different world outside. And I am not even talking about the in your face poverty. Poverty we have learnt to blank ourselves to. Poverty which bothers us only when an Irishman refers to it while winning making an Oscar winning film.

I am talking of the traffic which gets worse by the day. The sheer lack of civic planning. Monstrous, ungainly flyovers coming up. Walkways which noone will use. Roads being dug for the Metro. And pilars being put up for the monorail. Yes, we are a city in a hurry. But does it all have to be at the same time?

The dust, destruction, construction and desolation gives you the feeling of a war ravaged city. Not that of a city which is the commercial capital of the 'future'. One look at any Asian city, I am not even talking of those of the developed West, and one realises the need for a reality check.

The simplest and most recent example of this insensitivity and lack of civic planning is the Bazar Road beside Balaji restaurant at Hill Road, Bandra. This is a narrow road which connects Bandra to the Sea Link. A road which many take to office in the morning.

Well if you go half way down the road these days you will find that it is closed. In which case you will have to turn back in this single laned road and the result is almost as chaotic as the Indian Parliament in session. Now I am sure that there is a good enough reason to shut the road. But why not put a sign warning people at the beginning of the lane? The simplest thing then would be to turn and take the Mehboob Studio exit.

But then, as T would say, 'where are the hardships'?

My teachers in school used to say that I was a day dreamer. That I would not pay attention to what was happening in class. That I would be lost in my own world. But I must admit that even I am not enough of a dreamer to see any hope amidst the rubble.

It's time to get real.

I know it's Maharashtra Day today. But before you say 'get back to where you belong' and all that stuff let me go on record saying that I am really fond of, and attached to the city. I would speak up for it any day. But I also know that most of us have been badly let down by those who matter. As Forrest Gump would say, that's all I have to say about that.

Popular posts from this blog

Where will you be twenty years from now?

A taste of Mumbai
It struck me the other day that it has been about twenty years since the time I took my first steps, albeit unwittingly, towards moving into Mumbai.
I had been recruited by a market research agency in Kolkata from campus back then. I joined my new office once the MBA course was over. We were then sent to Mumbai for a training programme in August 1997. Once the course was over, my colleagues from Kolkata returned home. I was slated to stay back for a 2 month training programme in Mumbai which then stretched on for close to 6 months. I was put up at a PG in Bandra by my office then.
Such  a long journey
This was the first time that I was living away from home. All I wanted to do then was to get back to Kolkata as soon as I could. Go back and build a successful career in market research hopefully. Move to an apartment in a posher part of Kolkata than where we lived. At Ballygunge for example. 
I thought it would be cool one day have a club membership given to me by offic…

The importance of being 'Nyaka'

'Nyaka' is a Bengali term which beats translation. It could mean coy, coquettish, scheming, la di da. There is no one word which captures it. The term is used in a pejorative context and has a sarcastic tone to it. Used a bit more for women than for men. Has a feminine context when used for men.I posed the challenge of translating 'nyaka' into English to fellow Bengalis in Facebook. Here's a sample of the answers that I got.I have removed the names and kept the statuese as is, hope it's not too difficult to read

Bong man 1Coy.....but that does capture the essence
14 December at 14:37 ·

No ...not entirely. A colleague just suggested precocious. Maybe its too intrinsic a Bong trait to be translated :)
14 December at 14:50 ·

Bong woman 1kol-lan, difficult to get a english / hindi word for nyaka.
14 December at 15:11 ·

that's the point
14 December at 15:15 ·

Bong woman 2
oh, i think the essence of the word 'nyaka' will be lost in translation. just like gettin…

Queue-spreading because its spelling is the least of our problem with queues

Scene 1:

I had gone to pay local taxes at a government office in Bandra a few days back.

I was directed to a table where there was no-one else waiting. I went up to the officer at the desk and submitted our papers. He keyed in the details in to his computer. The results flashed immediately. I gave our cheque, so far so good.

Then the officer pointed out that the cheque was Rs 12 (twelve) more than what was due. We looked at each other and tried to figure out what has to be done. Suddenly an elderly corpulent gentleman came and sidled up and stood beside me. I waited a for a couple of seconds. I thought he might have a question for the officer. I looked at the encroacher. He smiled at me. There was no-one behind me and yet he stood beside me.

I looked at him and said, 'do you mind standing behind me? We are discussing something here.' He smiled at me and said, 'no problem, I will wait.'

I drew my breath and said, 'can you please stand in the queue while we finish.&…