Thursday, March 27, 2014

Smog of dreams: Breathing to death

Daily while I walk my way to office from Andheri to Chakala, I feel terribly glad that I do not own a bike or a car. I’d rather reach much earlier than those poor chaps stuck in the traffic. I pass through a population of stagnant honkers who’re in a rush; not just to reach their workplace, but in a rush for everything. Taking it slow and living the moment, is not what defines Mumbai. This city sets the pace for itself; but dies every day to live upto its speed. While some make a living on the streets, some spend half of their lives watching them suffer. Who cares? I am late to work. We’re here to make money and live our dreams right?

Well, that’s the truth. Who cares? If someone is dying on the streets or in the train station, people are rather busy reaching their offices and meeting deadlines, while some are busy taking pictures and uploading it on facebook. Maybe they follow some primitive Shakespearean ideology of; drown not thyself to save a drowning person. The concept of togetherness is divided in such a way that you want to work in your dream company; you want to be with your family and you want to be with your friends; all at once. And in the quest of this dream, we forget to treat our surroundings well. Mumbai has locals; Mumbai has BEST; Mumbai has an array of taxis and cabs, plus the autos. Now it has Monorail and it’s awaiting the inception of Metros too. In fact, Mumbai has everything. Is that the good part? Or the bad part? The answer is bittersweet. The life keeps moving on because of the oil and blood of Mumbai. On the other hand, life in the metro, comes to a standstill because of same reason.

Just like the saying goes, haste makes waste; if everyone wants everything right here, right now, it would surely lead to a social chaos. A chaos where success is measured in terms of; how many BHK flat does one own; what company four-wheeler does one have; what club does he go to party and how pretty their spouses are. The scales of measuring success have completely changed. Proving to be successful has become much more important that being successful. And that is why we see the elements on their respective success littering on the streets of Mumbai. Whether it’s a bicycle or a Mercedes, everyone has their own mode of transportation. While public transport is stereotypically meant for those who live a mediocre life, the truth is, every freaking thing is stuck in traffic and despises each other’s success. Even a pedestrian walking in the corner is a possible cause for a traffic jam and such is the scenario.

While this article of mine can be considered as a lampoon on Mumbai’s traffic, it is also a way to vent out my emotional distress. While I spend my whole day working as a grammar police, checking out every mistake made in the creative content, this is my Shangri La where I breathe my peaceful air of comfortable expression irrespective of the bloody grammar. Most of the times, I end up complaining about the place I am living in from the past one year, but one thing that has upset me the most is the traffic. While the city speaks of development, it has been limited in its definition. Building flyovers and Metros doesn’t alone count for the overall development. As individuals, we all fail everyday to contribute to it. A pedestrian is run down by a motorist. A motorist is run down by a car driver. A car is run down by a bus. A bus is run down by a train. And the train is derailed because of the people living by the tracks. This vicious circle leads nowhere.

We all have set a disciplined schedule for our day’s work and we begin our day with those things-to-do on our list. While we all have jobs, in the end we are paid for what we are supposed to do for the day or month, and not what we are meant to do for our lifetime. The only thing that should matter to us is the scale of measuring success. If that scale ends up in a bigger unit than the existing ones, we’re surely leaving a worst legacy behind. And this is not what we want our children to see and do. We need to teach our children to be happy; not schadenfreudes. We need to teach them to be creative; not compulsive. We need to teach them spiritualism and not secularism. We need to teach them the values of love and not make them memorize the techniques of price negotiations. We strictly need to teach them to live with people and not die in cyber world. All this preaching would seem useless and nonchalant if we didn’t follow it ourselves. If Mumbai is a place you wish to die in peace, make it a place to live likewise.

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