Friday, May 02, 2008

From Indifference to Ignorance to Apathy - Salaam Mumbai!

Before you read any further one fact about me - I am very proud to be born and brought up in Mumbai... Like my orkut profile says - I am a Mumbaikar to the core... But there are many things I do not understand about this city... You wonder and you wonder but you dont put a thot to something; till you experience something that forces you to give your mindshare to this issue/event... So, here goes - the cliched melting pot called Mumbai - saw the city come to the rescue when bomb blasts hit the trains - and also saw the Jayabala Asher incident where no one helped and the J W Marriot incident where everyone kept quiet... And while I praised and ridiculed the city when these incidents did happen - tea time conversation - thats all they were...

But then the other day I came in the 8:41 Virar fast from Dadar and I was forced to think... On a different tangent - Mumbai mein everyone runs... U see me running everyday at 7:39 in 3 inch heels to take the 7:40, I see an old lady running to get the bus and I see a bus driver slamming the accelerator to make it through the signal as it turns red... So, yes - it is a fast city... And now this very haste also results in some unwanted acts by Mumbaikars... So, back to my story - 8:41 at Dadar which is 8:55 at Andheri... Day would have been a routine mumdane day if 2 men wouldnt have entered this WOMENS first class...

For all those who do not know the legendary Virar - even if its 1 am in the morning that train is crowded... So, yes this train was crowded and here is the apathy that I witnessed - only one lady was opposing it - fighting with them... asking them to get down... Finally, when they dint pay heed to her - I said something... another girl started... They said - "hum log staff hai - we can come here coz we couldnt get in the gents first class..." I was so irritated... They had the gall to say this... Imagine what nerves they had when they stepped onto this compartment... They would ve thot "Chalta hai... Ladies hain - kya karengi..." And which to some extent is true na - for starters - how many women spoke?? Next - they did travel to their detination in first class... Third - nothing we did served to get the right thing done...

The point of the blog to ask all you people - what are your limits? how much of beauracracy can u take? What all things can you tolerate? I tried to do my bit - try and be a responsible citizen but in the end - beauracratic procedure won, my tolerance gave up... Makes me feel terrible inside - then should I assume that those ladies who dint leave their seats (afraid to be standing till their destination later) are dead inside? would they have kept quiet if it were their daughters instead of me and that girl? and when will i keep doing something and then finally end up dead inside... and if this continues - will this city ever see someone doing something just for the welfare of others? Pareto principle - making yourself better off without making society worse off - can this happen ever in Mumbai again? I am a pessimist and the sad state of affairs only fuels this further so what I would do instead is tell you how this story ended and then as usual I will end this on questions coz - i for one do not have answers to those... may be someone reads and helps me figure things out for me... so this is what I did -

I asked for his IDs - he flashed them but for a time where no details could be taken... only for a fact that his first name was Jayaprakash and that it was indeed a Government ID... we tried to take snaps so that we show it to the station master at Borivli and they leaned outside showing us their backs... I called the 24 hours railway helpline - to call security at Borivli Station (the next station where train was supposed to tkae a halt)... They assured me that someone will be there and when the station came no one was there... Those guys got down and stared straight into my face and smirked at me... I felt puny.. Helpless... The Virar train started and all those ladies went back to their soap discussions and other conversations like nothing ever happened... There at the station were these 2 girls who started the fight for everyone feeling shitty about themselves... Still not giving up - we went to 4 office - station master, railway security, station manager and finally the deputy... no one did anything... kept passing on the buck... finally on insisting - that they check if these guys were police atleast (off duty may be) he said police station jaake aap check karo... I did get the details but at that point is where my patience wore off... after a 12 hour day at office, I really dint want to then get hassled by a policeman... I asked the girl if she needed the details coz I knew I would not pursue it further and she took them from me...

I dunno if she will do anything about it, but if she does -kudos to her spirit... as for me - I am currently wallowing in self pity... :( But tomorrow again - I will be running at 7:39 to take the same 7:40 train...
The main question then remains: Am I still really PROUD to be a MUMBAIKAR?
Beats me!!!

4 comments:

Sid said...

So this amazing female who is as bold and untethered with with her thought and her writing as she is with her protests against men traveling in women's compartments has made me proud again. While I completely understand the kind of humiliation it must have led to I do think raising a voice and making those efforts leave you in a much better position as compared to standing there and watching it happen from the FEAR of humiliation or retort.

Very well done.

May God render those rascals impotent.

Viraj Datar said...

The effort was valiant - no doubt. There's a motto people follow: "Never second guess a field decision". YOu were there, in the situation, and you did what you felt was right. Now, dont feel sad that it didnt work out, because you are now so much the wiser. Its better to try and fail than just conjecture.

You were "the Mumbai" that evening - not those guys. So, yes, I am still proud to be a Mumbaikar :)

Bravo on your courage - but then, things dont always go as you wish they did.... C'est la vie...

Kartik said...

The fact that you did NOT show indifference or ignorance or apathy, can make someone a proud mumbaikar. mumbai is because what mumbaikars have been.

as viraj said, better to try and fail than not to try and fail (to change the wrong)

Harish said...

Well done...cliched it may sound but do not perturb urself with the results...you did what was right and that should be the takeaway and I hope that you have gotten over the self pity and will find it in yourself to do the right thing again when the opportunity presents itself inspite of what it yielded the last time...kudos to u