mumbai in news. a few weeks here and this is what i have experienced. Welcome to this new world called Mumbai, my friends say!
The other day, the entire paper was plastered with stories of homosexuality becoming legalized. It seemed a whole lot of people were elated with the Delhi court coming out with a historical verdict. I'm told, it might be an issue of a huge vote bank. I love it that we're living upto all the constitutional promises of liberty and equality. But I wonder if a law ever deterred a lover or how criminal he must feel loving. I wonder more at what 377 had to say and how straight and not-so-straight people did unlawful things inadvertently, without anyone ever knowing ofcourse.
Lovely looking sea-links get erected reducing 40 to 7 mins, or is it just alleged. I believe, that all these great pieces of architecture over-promise. Just like work expands to fill up the time, traffic also must expand to fill up the space.
Presently, travel causes more and more problem. It's becoming more and more menacing to thrust people ahead in the train, skip trains in hope of an emptier train, pacing slower or faster with the crowd, avoiding leeking man-holes, cringing from pelting rains, et al. On the streets, the crowds aggregate to be one mass. There is an aggregate speed of that mass auto or manual traffic.
Game theory fits perfectly and explains best this whole rut. People say, I should leave early from home and office to find less rush, but considering everyone knows that and is being told that, implements this and advance the peak hour, down to a lesser hour. Sometimes people stay back in their homes and offices to join the parade a little later, on which days everyone else also mysteriously decides to do the same, thereby pushing the peak hour later. Therefore, the best idea would be to not think much, go out there, fight the travel travails and emerge a winner. :D
People are forgiving and probably the busiest in all of this universe. The other day, a friend said, it'll just take half an hour, what is that in Bombay standards, and I thought, in any other part of the world, I would've wanted to do things differently in that half an hour. But people are quick to forgive Mumbai in that sense. Over time, they don't curse the traffic jams, howling crowds, alternating bouts of heavy rains and sweltering heat.
Central line, I hear is the first one to close down during rains. That would send one in a state of dither and pother. It also has a smaller first class, women' compartment than the western line. One would complain, but like everything else, that also is forgiven.
In the train, new phenomena emerge everday. A crash course would be helpful but experience is also fine. Getting on the train is a fine art. Getting down is also one. One must learn about which side the destination platform would come on. Getting on a long distance train, hoping to get out on a mid-station could be anything between difficult to nightmarish. Having a back to lean on would be good, so you can book your place against the wall by asking people who will alight sooner than you. There will be much more jostle in the close-by second class men's compartment and that MUST goad you on. I become more and more thankful for my gender then.
It's a good thing, I've seen the people for a month before reaching conclusions. I'd said it was an unwelcoming experiece with people aboard the train. But I can understand their surly temperaments and testy dispositions. One tends to become like that when their every-day lives are so heavily dependent on external factors. I have also started to sass people when they ask me get rid of my sack. I've learnt to ignore their pssts and tchtchs. I've also encountered familiar faces, to which I simply smile.
Outside of trains, people just help. Auto-walas are curt but definitely not out there to cheat. You are safe, coming at 2 in the night. And very protected during unfriendly tides and attacks. The same crowds that suffocate the mind, give it humane leases at such times.
Meanwhile, there've been some close and not-so-close friends to meet and chill with. There've been first experiences with hosting with home-made food, appreciation and criticism. There've been pangs of lonelinesses and joys of living alone. Truth be spoken, even in MICA i lived alone, but the system took care of you. Here, without Zoo, living by yourself, running a household with a maid, broker, laundry seemed just too large and overwhelming.
Work is panning out better. It's opening a whole new world of corporate and research. Fieldwork, somewhere in the parallel universe, might be about conforming to very demanding research designs. We were made to do cold calls, which were rather cold, some warm calls and door-to-door. These are two disparate worlds of design and field, both complementary to each other, extensions, different arms of research. More than consumers are king, respondents are king would be more appropriate.
Home continues to be great consolation. Support systems going good and strong. New songs by Iron and Wine, Zoo's melifluent sing-song, Debo's extreme listlessness and Minkie's fits of mirthful laughter and crazy talk delight my ears daily. :D
The other day, I had my first encounters also with pitter-patter rainfall that assumed gargantuan proportions. While I was at Bandra, chilling with a friend, I'd hear things like 'galat bhada utha liya hai', 'don't cross so-n-so subway, there's water clogging there', 'maybe you could check into a hotel or something', I hit the panic button. It became worse when the taxis and autos would refuse straight to take me home. And then the straw, central line closes. But I reach home safely, so does everyone else. People weather these weathers all the time.
Anyhow, i think it's become much longer than I'd expected and much much longer than anyone can stand. Next time, I'll not wait for such leakage and piling.
In the hope of becoming one of them or not.