Stop daydreaming, Mumbai!!!!

Vision 2020, Mumbai Vision, Roadmap for the future, Mumbai to Shanghai – daydreaming goes by many a monicker in Mumbai. Well, it happens to be the city of dreams, I guess!!! Anyway, horribly bad jokes apart, when I say Mumbai is daydreaming, I do not necessarily intend to slam the efforts to modernise the city, particularly its physical infrastructure, which has been gathering rust for donkey’s years now. Far from it, I think our vision for Mumbai is a muddled one, unclear about the city’s priorities, and hence likely to remain the stuff of dreams.

 To elaborate, Mumbai’s citizenry is unable to let go of the images by which it remembers its city and at the same time find it mighty difficult to rein in their heartburn after returning from a foreign trip and seeing and feeling the stark contrast.

 We would like BEST to never ever raise its fares, but we long for the airconditioned, air suspension comfort of a luxury bus. We think it’s mean of BMC to impose fines for spitting and littering, but we lament the fact that our city is so dirty. We like to recall how smooth the roads were abroad time and again, but we brazenly park our bikes and cars on still-being-laid concrete surfaces – and then, when they do not hold up in the monsoons, curse the BMC for doing a bad job. Like, what did you expect, anyway? We park cars on pavements and then crib at the lack of walking space on the pavements. We cry hoarse for subways and then, when they are actually built, still dare to cross the Eastern Express Highway at Pestom Sagar right under the nose of vehicles speeding down the flyover. Not only that, we cross in large groups, bringing the traffic to a halt, and on a different day, crib at the lack of discipline of pedestrians whilst ourselves sitting at the wheel. We want an end to new car registrations, but while the proposal is discussed ad nauseum by the govt, get ourselves our second, third or even fourth car. 

It’s not for me to take sides either way. I do not know for sure that it’s OK for Mumbai to remain poorly managed, unkempt and indisciplined. And I also do not know the exact benefits of modernising it on the lines of say Singapore. But I do know that if we are to modernise, we’ll have to make some sacrifices. If you want things to improve, something’s gotta give. You can add more and more flyovers and squeeze extra inches of road width, but unless the surge in the number of vehicles stops, traffic will continue to be a problem. If you can’t resist the near – involuntary urge to dump your Pepsi plastic cup on the pavement and just walk away, you will find those Pepsi cups staring back at you everywhere you go. It would be great to have new, airconditioned taxis with tamper-proof meters, but you can’t hope to pay the same fare as before.

 Prime minister Manmohan Singh said back in1991 as the then FM that there are no free lunches. Nearly seventeen years hence, we are still trying to run away from this reality. For me, this new-found squeamishness manifest in Mumbai is a real shocker. I have seen the city steadily decay through the 90s and watched the piles of garbage growing in size with every passing day. And then, the city managed to turn a corner with the new millenium. I can’t say things have improved, but they aren’t necessarily getting worse than before. At least for the moment, the rot seems to have been stemmed. 26/7 was a freak incident. At the end of the day, we have to agree that last year, the rains were indeed managed better with less disruptions and we made life more difficult for ourselves by getting paranoid everytime it poured.  Maitri Park isn’t getting cleaner by the day, but atleast it’s not getting dirtier. And yet, there’s a crib virus doing the rounds in the city which, more than anything else, makes life difficult for everybody around.

I don’t really get it: all these years, you loved this ‘dumpy’ place, but now you would like to see a change. Great! But what are you going to do about it? Take photos of the same road day after day to capture the change in pictures??? I hope something more concrete is in store. As for me, I am an outcast, a Navi Mumbaikar across the bridge and can only contribute by not adding to the pile of – shall we say it so – shit myself! Snap out of your stupor and decide which Mumbai you want and what you will do to that end. Let’s stop talking and get to work. No more roadmaps, please!!! We know our way around the city, thank you!!!!

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4 Responses to “Stop daydreaming, Mumbai!!!!”

  1. qudsiyah Says:

    great post!

  2. qudsiyah Says:

    great post!!i agree with u completely..

  3. Madan Says:

    Thks bro

  4. verbivorehere Says:

    If you can’t resist the near – involuntary urge to dump your Pepsi plastic cup on the pavement and just walk away, you will find those Pepsi cups staring back at you everywhere you go. – Very true! But alas those who spit somehow dnt seem to shun the dirt!

    Great Post friend you can actually join friends and do somethng ..educating the public about the growing population of the city, the hygiene and the small steps.

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