Bombay Blues…

I love Bombay, I do, but honestly,  it’s taking more effort everyday to keep the love going!

Have been here for a week now and except for the first 2 days when the weather sucked (you don’t want to be out in Bombay traffic when it’s raining, trust me!) have had a fairly decent time of it. And yet, you won’t see me dancing with joy at being here, not anytime soon…

Perhaps it’s the traffic that’s worse than I remember, the incessant honking and crazy overtaking, the pushiness one has to suffer from inefficient staff, who seem to think it’ll make up for their ignorance and a general decline in the levels of service in every sphere. This last one really bothers and saddens me, ‘coz I always admired the fact that no-one can be as innovative as a Mumbaikar when it comes to offering services – after all, isn’t that why the city is home to 24 million people? Those who come to serve and others who come to be served! This is after all the city where my aunt in Girgaum can have her grocer pick up her eyeglasses from a shop down the street and then have him home deliver it all, with one phone call and all for free!

Bombay for all her razzmatazz and ‘happening’ status, is changing – her people are changing, their attitudes are changing and sadly not for the better. There’s a lot more ‘Me’ and a lot less ‘Us’. Isn’t that why even after a tragedy like 26/11, nothing’s changed. Nothing relevant that is – yes there’s more security in the malls but no consistency with the checking still cursory. And the people – they sadden me the most – the way they take this city for granted, spilling their garbage onto the roads, spitting, peeing at will and brandishing that special brand of ‘Aggressiveness’ (that is the hallmark of anyone who’s lived in Bombay long enough), for the most part with utter disregard for another’s sensibilities; blaming the government for all their woes, not accepting any responsibility for their part in the charade.

This isn’t new by any means, Bombay has always been this way, but it’s getting worse and I fear it’s getting to be the ‘only’ way left to be. Disturbingly, the youth in whom we all rest our hopes for a better future, seems caught up in repeating our mistakes. Money is everything, while pride in the country, state, city figures on the bottom if at all on their list of priorities, unless it’s an Ind-Pak cricket match!!

My heart bleeds for Bombay and for India, where I see huge potential wasted, tons of opportunities squandered, all because we’re hypocrites – too self-absorbed & small-minded to care…

When will it end? How will it end?

Only time will tell…

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