The recent deathly incident that happened on a railway station in Mumbai saddens me beyond reason. This has taken place exactly a month after the flooding crisis which was caused by rains on August 29th. It is just heartbreaking to see people dying in such inhuman ways and scary because I too am a traveler of the same Foot Over Bridge and the ill fated station. It could have been me! Or you or anyone else. As more and more information about the identities of those who succumbed to this horror is coming out, I somehow feel like I know these people. Maybe because they were fellow commuters and I know and completely understand what they must have been thinking as the bridge quickly turned claustrophobic.
Lets face it, we have been seeing these symptoms for quite some time now. People die in overcrowded local trains, by falling into uncovered manholes, in flooded water, in unsafe buildings, bombings, the list is endless. People die a faceless death here almost every day, especially while travelling in the lifeline called local train. The lifeline for lakhs of people proves to be a deathline for hundreds every year. But this city continues to be a dreamcity for millions of others. In a large country like India, its Mumbai where people come in train-loads every day, to accommodate it has been quietly kept expanding.
What it was and what it has become. It is hard to imagine now that once upon a time there were seven beautiful islands rich in biodiversity where fisherfolks inhabited. Its quite beauty even inspired a great writer like Rudyard Kipling whose house lies almost forgotten in the JJ College of Arts campus. Kipling would frequently go on long nature walks and bird watching. Is something like this possible now? Of course not when we are struggling to save the last of green lung that is the Aarey forest. The trees, the forests, the rivers, the mangroves, the mill lands started making way for mostly buildings, buildings, buildings, buildings and more ugly buildings!
The process had begun during the British rule when they reclaimed large tracts of sea and officially created a Bombay. After independence the process continued further when it also became the financial capital inhabiting a big entertainment industry, and rapidly so. But the tag has come with a price. In no time a beautiful Bombay has turned into a choking, polluting, bursting, overflowing, desperate city. The weight of the dreams of a billion people has been really heavy for simple Mumbai to carry. But it has been carrying nevertheless, somehow. It raised its stamina. But the time has come to realize that it can only carry so much. Year after year a nexus of greedy builders along with careless and corrupt authority have made the city carry more than it can. And the result is that today it has become almost an unlivable city. It’s a shame to have an unlivable city as a financial capital of a growing India which aims to be a superpower by 2030. How are we exactly going about it?
Coming back to the recent crisis, as far as the infrastructure is concerned there is no one but the government to blame. No doubt about that. But as citizens or rather as HUMANS I feel there is something we should try to do. Kindness, patience and understanding, let us all try to re-inculcate these forgotten values. The crowd, the desperation and the often famed fast life of Mumbai has somehow made us forget this basic virtue called Kindness. Every day I see a lot of people being rude to each other in local trains. Travelling in local trains can be a stressful affair. The pushing, shoving, bickering while getting in and out can take a toll. Let us all try to make it a little easier for each other and understand that no one “pushes” on purpose.
Avoid being rude to fellow passengers. Let us be kinder and convey things a bit nicely to each other.
Lets not push or keep insisting that people step out of the train faster. Everyone already gets in and out real fast. No need to emphasize with incessant chants of chalo chalo chalo.
Let us allow people to get down first. This universal protocol of public transport is increasingly getting flouted in Mumbai local. A new ‘rule’ has emerged where people getting down at last station stand aside to make way for those getting in. This is creating congestion at the entrance leading to more shouts and bickering. Lets be patient for a few seconds, the seats won’t run away.
More importantly, lets not shout unnecessarily and spread rumours.
The need of the hour is understanding, among fellow human travelers, between authorities and about our environment, if we wish to resuscitate Mumbai from the state of a polluted, overcrowded zombie that it is becoming. Let us all try and let us all hope!
More importantly, Lets go Green! The sooner the better.
Get well soon Mumbai!