Maan … despite all these heavy rains in Mumbai for the last couple of days, the municipality has threatened to cut down on water supply. The rains accumulated in the pools are not enough to meet the water needs of this city’s populace. They are even threatening the water level is only enough to sustain six months.
Today being Sunday, I conveniently ignored the door bell at eight in the morning. I swear this is the last eight-o-clock Sunday morning bells that I missed in my life. The kind guard had come to tell me to fill up the bucket/s (I have only one) in half an hour’s time. No water for the next twenty four hour!
Being the lazy champion that I am, I didn’t fill up the bucket last night before sleeping (does anybody do that in any case?). since I am dependent on tap water for drinking purpose, I had nothing to drink too. So I went to buy water in the morning. But thought of better utilisation of money and bought beer instead. Now, technically I cannot wash my face with beer, can i? Nor I can use it for my other urgent needs.
So I had to go to the shops again and buy two bottles of water, two litres each. I was aghast at such precious waste of money. I mean, you buy water in this country! Gosh! Beats me. To comfort myself and to even out the cost to utilisation ratio a bit, I picked up two more bottles of beer.
So here I am, down two bottles of my favourite beer (Indian one). Sitting on my bed, stinking and happily typing whatever comes in mind.
I found the rain god to be very active in answering my prayers. He is a public sector entity with a mind of his own. When there was no rain and sitting on a Mumbai taxi was like entering the oven, I prayed fervently, “oh rain god, bring us some rain.”
Lo, in a week or two, the rains started pouring … till it started getting on my nerves. One day it rained so heavily that the trains stopped. Busses refused to come near where I stay. I desperately requested the taxi drivers to drop me at my place. they gave me dirty looks. Some of them even swore. Wet like a crow, I was running around dadar, and pleading to the drivers to drop me at my place. I was ready to give double meter. None was ready to come.
Finally, one good soul agreed at Rs500, double of what i usually pay. I was ready to dole that out. But just a kilometre and I was stuck in the heavy traffic caused by the flooding of the roads. Have you ever seen a snail moving at its laziest pace? The traffic was slower than that. I estimated if I start walking, I might reach my home by the next day morning. If I sit in the taxi, I will reach the day after. So I got down and started walking. This is after the driver recovered his 500. a contract is a contract after all. It was my wish to get down at the middle of nowhere, not the driver’s fault. I had no right to argue with him.
My wet phone turned out to be very reliable. I managed to call a friend and told him to stay at a particular spot with his car so that I could walk that much and go to his place to stay. I reached that place after two hours walk and found my chauffer standing. He drove me his home and my life was saved. That’s when I complained loud to the rain god. “stop it. I say stop! For the sake of your boss, stop it.”
And the rain stopped forever. Fucker!
Did I mean to take it so literally? My experience with all public sector entities told me that they don’t take things literally and matters get settled at their own pace. So tuned we are at our own public system that if we want something to be done at a particular date two years down the line, we apply now. If you go by the rulebook and apply one day before the date, as normally this is the time to get the job done, it will come to you after two years nevertheless. How do I know the new Indian rain god is so efficient in answering pleas? Didn’t he learn from his bosses? The great Indian lazy gods? One of them has always his eyes shut. Another is lying lazily on a lotus and the other is busy in his library.
At different phases of my life I have requested them to get me things, mainly love interests. I prayed that that chic at the corner of that road be mine. I prayed I get an answer of my proposal to her. She didn’t reply at that time. Because the plea didn’t reach the lazy Indian god’s bed. When it reached and she replied, it was five years late. The girl, a baby on her hand, her baby, lovely girl of two years, told me that day … “ you proposed me, I wish I was wise that time.” What the fuck! Although I fully didn’t understand what she mean by that. Whether it would have been wise of her to accept my proposal or to slap me immediately, but my positive outlook towards life encouraged me to take a positive version. The gods got my plea heard after five years, when things have turned upside down and I was chasing some other chic after getting rejected and refused by ten more.
I know I will continue getting positive answers till I am fifty. I have so many proposals pending on which i didn't get answers till date.
Now where from this active civil servant appeared among these lazy louts? I am lodging a complaint about him now. He will, hopefully get replaced in about five years time.
Don’t take things too literally in India yaar, if you run or walk too fast, you will miss half of India, as somebody said.
There are exceptions to the rule of course.
Mumbai. Everybody is running here. they don’t know why they are running, but run they must. You know just three minutes down there is a train coming and if you board this one, there is a high probability that you will drop from the running train just as a ripe mango. Yet, people run here. when they get down from the train they must push you to overtake you and get stuck in the same place. the entire jamboree of ecstatic crowd, must push the other crowd-loving people coming from the opposite direction. From a distance you will find the platform over-bridge transforming into an ancient battlefield where greek or roman soldiers jostle each other under their giant shields. I love this scene most of the time until I become one of them.
There is so much action happening here. once you come to Bombay you become a true fighter. The entire city is a battlefield. You go out to work not knowing whether you would come back alive or in one piece. It makes you fearless. You never know which bag has what in it. You never know the bus you are riding doesn’t have ingredients to make meat out of you. You become a fearless soul. When news of a bomb blast comes, you open your costliest whiskey to thank the stars for sparing you this time. The next day you go to the office anxiously. Only to face the same shit like everyday. Slowly slowly the shit takes better of your fear and you forget the daily hazards until your benevolent neighbouring country sends a pack of dogs to bite you down at hotels, gatherings and restaurants. When they are short of money to send dogs people from another neighbourhood come in bicycles and keep tiffin boxes or pressure cookers for you. Open that and all your pains vanish in an instant. Yours and several others’. This city makes you fearless.
Fear comes back to you, even while crossing the road, when you step into some other Indian cities, cause you know road accident is the only few reasons you can die there. And you will have no other to blame except yourself.
If the chicken pox spared you here, surely the swine flu will do you. If you have the ability to digest the pig, then comes typhus, or malaria, or anything that you can name of. Each time you thank your lazy gods. You can only pray, by the time they realise you have not been blessed with any one of these, you can escape the city and reach somewhere else.
But would I leave Mumbai for that? Nah … I am a Mumbaikar, resident of the greatest slum on earth. And like any slum dweller, I am sympathetic towards my fellow slum dweller and is ready to stand with him shoulder to shoulder when the time comes to fight back.
May be, I will be done when wine flu hits the shore.