Sunday, July 16, 2006

The "Mumbai Spirit" - A genuine emotion or a facade for covering apathy and ignorance?

The "indomitable Spirit of Mumbai" - an expression that is bandied about in the wake of every natural calamity (manmade or otherwise) that hits this city. To say that the expression is cliched would be an under-statement. To say that it truly represents what we feel, I think, would be an over-statement.

Why is it that one never gets to hear bout this "Spirit" of Mumbai in the course of an average day? Why doesnt it occur to the folks who push and shove and swear to get into a Train compartment to respect other people and show this "Spirit" that we keep talking about. Why do road accident victims who call out for help are conveniently ignored by the tens of motorists going by because it involves some hassles? What happened to the "Spirit" then? Yes, you may call me a cynicist, a pessimist, but the truth is that in the course of a normal day, we are too busy fighting for that seat in the BEST bus or struggling to get a hold onto a running train that we have become completely insensitive to the city and each other.

So, is this talk about "Spirit" complete hogwash? No, I do agree that there are some very good samaritans in the city and a general sense of sympathy to victims of tragedies - be it manmade or natural. The recent rush of blood donors to hospitals around the city in the immediate aftermath of 7/11 bombings are indicative of that. The hospitals had to send back scores of people because they was surplus blood! However, five days later we are back to normal and we claim this is possible because of the "Spirit" of Mumbai.

By "back to normal", I mean once again swearing, pushing, punching in order to make it into the train, once again littering around always expecting the omnipresence of authorities to clean up the mess. The truth is the "Spirit" that we keep bandying about holds true in the immediate aftermath of the incident and then is quickly lost and forgotten in the madness called Mumbai.

I feel that "The Spirit" and "Resilience" are euphemisms for our return to absolute apathy and ignorance. I think its time to perhaps stop being "Resilient" once in a while and shake up the authorities concerned. I am not in anyway supporting bandh calls, but we must not be returning to complete non-chalancy and normalcy either. We must definitely protest the absolute lack of intelligence gathering, surveilance and security checks in our public transportation systems.

We use these improvised euphemisms to justify our return to a gleefully oblivious and ignorant existence. Perhaps its time that we stop putting facades and start to be a little more responsible and vigilant ourselves.


Sunil Natraj said...

First of all, lovely article. You are very talented with the pen, as I have mentioned before.

You have a regular visitor now.

And third, I am Sunil Natraj, and not Sunil Nataraj. Sorry, but a tad particular.


Rajiv Iyer said...

Thanks a lot Sunil. I certainly value your opinion and feedback. And hey, will rectify the spelling error immediately :-)

Pearlson said...

Appreciate your deep insights beyong the veil of superficiality that blinds men and women from the bitter and sour truth.. Kudos Friend!.. Its evident once again !