The fragility of our existence stared at my face earlier this morning as I was hanging on the footboard of the viciously crowded Mumbai local. I almost slipped, but thanks to my luck and that angelic aunt that I’m here typing this and not, waiting to be another nugget in tomorrow’s newspaper. Posing as the protagonist of the sorry article on which everyone feels the pity, and then it is nothing but an archive to be forgotten.
The mental investment on the issue of over-crowded trains is so little, that there is no necessity to understand the problem or to care. This is because everything keeps going on non-stop until, it hits close to home. There are thousands of people travelling in the rush peak hour from north Mumbai to south, struggling in the compartment. It is an everyday gamble of life and death, the probability of the latter increasing as the population keeps increasing. It is nothing but a sheer competition of spaces. Those who win survive, while the others hang and hope not to die.
Is this the spirit of Mumbai, as they call it? The city is an infrastructural mess, but yet the financial crest. Is it a boon or a gain, I wonder. Due to the capability to generate and earn, it has successfully invited many people but it doesn’t have the capability to take in so many, and what is at risk? After every contingency, there is a quiet uproar till the problem is shoved into oblivion. Nothing is done, no efforts are made, even for mere closed-door compartments or increments in the number of trains.
We all are here to end, that is a said fact, but if the end is in such a way it is a kind of murder happening due to mere negligence. It is something that can be prevented just by a little action, a little attention.
After that moment, all I could think was, I may have been irrational considering my priorities where I chose hanging on the train rather than missing many of them for an hour or two, but it certainly shouldn’t ought to the end. I thought of my mother’s hug that I got this morning and I felt that maybe it could be the last, or the conversation that I had with my best friend would be the last. It was scary, so scary. I can’t do anything of the problem as of now, except practising caution and writing to our sorry government, but I can certainly now cherish and appreciate my life much more.
This article was published in the newspaper too :p yay!
The flame engulfs him suddenly, ferocious but untempered,
The muscle loses its control,
The mind turns inept to garner any reasons,
The actions taken are unquestioned,
Regret that later persists stays…
The flame engulfs him steadily,
Prepared to stay there for long, nurtured enough to be strong.
To obediently shadow him around, everyday and everywhere,
With a motive, to be a part.
Decisively taking over, even more…
From mind to the actions, from petty aggressions to enormous reactions.
It is the gift that he receives all his life, until he decides to let go…
The flame engulfs him, as he stops, realising the futility.
Maybe even more, the desperation to be free.
The moisture in my eye stayed there, twinkling as I replayed our journey all this way, all this while. There was a rhythm, a momentum in our entire story, which led to this final ending, as I must say today. The day you finally confessed became my day of good bye, I can’t say what it was but something broke deep within. There was a mild shatter, a hit of realization that I have been pursuing the wrong all this time, the destruction perhaps.
Little did I know that finality has its own way to show, its own distinct style. I had often thought that we were long gone, but the prevailing wound doesn’t seem old and mended. It rather hurts, fresh and obnoxious. Maybe I was lying to myself for so long that it became disguised as truth. The truth that everyone fears, which can be more mind numbing than a dosage of anaesthesia but now that the cloak is uncovered showcasing the withered emotions and feeling, I realize. The magnitude of acceptance is unreal; it is beyond the plethora of my persona.
I look down at my shivering heart as it beats, a little too fast and a little too slow, chaotic perhaps? It is wounded after this battle of triumph and freedom. There will be an escape, I know, but right now, I think I have the right to mourn.
When I see out there,
All I observe is a cruel world,
Mocking people with more than one can usurp,
There is pain, There is suspicion,
There is feeding on someone else’s emotions.
I stand here feeling guilty of the same,
Every time I laughed on somebody else’s weakness,
I lost a part of myself, my integrity,
Deep inside I knew it was wrong,
But for some unfathomable reason I carried on,
I feel the misery in me, asking me to promise to never do it again.
But I fear that tomorrow I might end up commenting,
on somebody else’s attempt to try something new,
Maybe a new language or a skill to speak of few.
Or that I might end up mocking somebody else’s petty flaws,
As I desperately hide my own imperfections behind the shallow laugh.
I fear that I will fail to understand how hard one is trying to fit in and to be right,
Not realizing their predicament or how my comment would affect.
Maybe, because of me they would stop trying and I’ll be guilty for life.
It’s a mystery to me how we feel honored in somebody else’s grim?
But who am I to speak?
As I happen to be guilty of the same time and again.
Once a fierce competitor,
Now a broken mess.
It was the inability to let go of the insecurity,
Which led to utmost incompetency.
Just like any other research students, we were also asked to survey slums, the most visible expression of poverty in urban areas. At that point of time, the idea seemed very exciting. Little did we know that the experience would be so heartbreaking and overwhelming, both at the same time.
The moment we entered into the slum clusters, on and between the gutters, it was like being transferred into another portal where it seemed impossible to live. The spaces were so little, that even a bit increase in my waist size would make walking through them an unachievable task. Everything was dark and dirty. There was water clogging in one space, fungus forming in another. Heaps of garbage were lying around, welcoming us with their distinct variety and gracious aroma. There were huge cliques of mosquitoes and flies, having a gala time. In short, the condition was pathetic and terrific.
Eventually, after a while, we just got over it. We moved on from house to house (if I can call them so, with their sheer size) interrogating people about their lives. Some were really welcoming, while others were uncooperative. It was as if they already knew that we were just another bunch of kids who will ask few questions in the pretext of helping them and in the end do nothing. They kept on asking us, if we will give them money or the government promised housings, on that our answers would unfortunately just be a forced sorry smile. While deep inside, we would just feel helpless and tad bit annoyed.
The saddest part was that there were many people who just stood there simply accepting their miserable fate. Many of them didn’t even bother to ask why we were asking them questions as such, and went on answering with honesty dripping off their face.
I couldn’t help but wonder if we are in a way insulting them?
Many of us go there and assure them, that our collected data will be sent forward to the government and the policy makers for improving their lives, but who are we kidding? We dexterously shower them with false hopes and expectation of a new beginning and a new life, and then in the end, we shamelessly go and sleep in our well furnished house. Yeah, there is no denying that they already know about the futility of our exercise but they still answer us.
Why? I wonder!
Is it because of the trivial human behaviour case? We humans gladly come forward to perform a task where we think there is nothing to lose but in rare cases, there might be a slight possibility of gain (lottery maybe?). The slum dwellers know that we might do nothing but if, just if we are successful enough in highlighting their predicament they might be slightly better off.
I don’t know what the real answer is; all I know is that I would hate being the victim of somebody’s study where I will have to shed my time and information just to be fed lies.