Everyone wants to touch the stars in the sky. They seem so attractive and beautiful. However, not everyone knows the fact that they may get burnt by a star’s heat if they get too close. Looks can be deceptive. And the grass is always greener on the other side. And this is true of the commercial capital of India—Mumbai.
Mumbai is the city of dreams for millions. It is also the city of cinema. In a movie like “Wake Up Sid”, Mumbai is presented in a manner that everything seems surreal and beautiful, even the rains. It’s difficult to deny that image. In Mumbai, the rains and the sea paint a mesmerizing picture. And there’s nothing is more romantic than Mumbai rains.
When I first came to Mumbai, I was treated to a light drizzle, cloudy skies, and cool breeze. Nothing felt better than sitting by the sea shore. Then came the next levels of monsoon, and the real problem started. Bridges collapsed, roads cracked, and the city’s trains suffered a setback. The major roadways were all packed jam with traffic, and the lanes were flooded with water all the time. I even heard news stories of minor and major fires around the city due to short circuits.
Reccently, when one of my colleagues reached the office late, I came to know about the struggles Mumbaikars have to face during the rains. The train he took every day had been cancelled. There was no cab available. He covered half of the distance in a bus that was running half an hour late, and then he finally got a lift from someone who was travelling towards the same direction. I asked him, “Does this happen every year, in the same manner”?
“Yes, it is quite normal in Mumbai,” he said. “Rains are bad. But you are still lucky, it has not yet worsened. Last year, on this day the water was knee deep outside this office compound and we could not return to our homes. I spent the night here”.
While I was warned, or rather frightened about the Mumbai rains much before, I had not expected it to be this bad. A distance of 500 metre takes half an hour to cross by cab and puddles and pot holes do not let you walk to office. How do people even survive?
I sat wondering about the millions of people living here, their work commitments, the so-called life in the fast lane, and having to live through this condition for four months of the year. How do people live here? And if this is such a persistent problem, why is nothing being done? Why are there no provisions to make it less of a headache for the residents?
I agree that Mumbai is the hotshot city of the country. It has everything from big brands to exotic food places. It houses the biggest movie stars, and all the multinational companies have their headquarters here. But I wonder if these are the right criteria to call the city ‘developed’? Do sewage, roads, waterway management, and disaster management not come under ‘development’? Should the government do nothing about it, if Mumbai is such an important part of India?
I had a dream to come to this city. To live and enjoy the luxuries it has to offer. But in a short period of time, I have realized it is indeed quite a task to live in this city. Just as it would be a difficult task to touch a star in the sky.