Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bombay - the dead city

Just a day after my last post, Bala Saheb Thackeray passed away. I was in South Bombay then, and I live in suburbs. The moment we got the news, everybody panicked. Everyone was scared, and the sole aim was to reach home safely. People took whatever transport they could find and rushed. Within fifteen odd minutes, cabs started refusing to take passengers. Within one hour, each and every shop was shut. It looked as if the city was dead and not a person.

I would have really appreciated this if this bandh was not out of fear. Even I panicked. I left town the moment I heard the news. From Colaba to home on a bike, we took longer routes and avoided Sena areas. Thankfully we were on a bike as it was easy to navigate through traffic. By the time we reached Bandra, it was almost dark. We decided to take the link road route as we know quite a few people there. Thus if there was any problem anywhere, we could have gone and stayed there. 

Now, I have never ever seen Bombay THIS dead. It was more than an hour since they declared that he was dead and almost all the autos and taxis were off the roads. There was little traffic on the roads. In some areas, even the street lights were turned off. The worst thing was when even medical stores were asked to shut down. I saw a few people asking petrol pump guys to shut down too. 

Bombay has been dead since last evening. Not a single shop is open anywhere. Rather, let me put it this way - not a single shop is open anywhere officially. If you go in the market, everything is available, at a higher rate and at the back gate. What's the point of such a bandh? Bala Saheb Thackeray always aimed at the welfare of middle class marathi manus and today the same marathi manus is paying double the price for basic necessities.

Bala Saheb loved Mumbai. And the same city is being terrorised by his followers on his death day. We had to pay a higher rate for milk as my niece is young and she needs it. That too it was of pathetic quality. Thankfully nobody is ill. I don't know how we would have managed that situation, for mom falls ill frequently. Niece is allergic to smoke and dust, she is recovering too post Diwali.

Yes it's a bandh day. No restaurants are open, no theatres are open, even cable TV has been forced to shut down. Thankfully internet is working. And I hope it keeps working even after I publish this post. There are rumours of Bombay being bandh tomorrow too. Which I doubt will happen, but you may never know. And I hope my 15 day bandh prediction in the previous post doesn't come true either. I hate to see Bombay dead. It's good busy and shining, in traffic and crowded. It's dead when it's dull. And I don't like it. 

Hope to see the normal Bombay soon enough.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

White collar terrorists

Can you ever imagine a standstill Bombay? If not then visit this city when something happens in the Thackeray family. Bala Saheb Thackeray has not been keeping too well. He was on life support system. When the news channel flashed that he was critical, riots started in various parts of Bombay. In my area, most of the shops were shut down yesterday, only the medical stores were open (thankfully), there were fewer vehicles on the road, not much traffic.

That was not all, Shiv Sainiks visited restaurants and theatres and asked people to vacate those places as their leader was fighting for his life. How could people enjoy normally? How could they smile when Bala Saheb was struggling for each breath? Thankfully he is out of danger now and stable. I dread the day he dies. Looking at Bombay's state when he was critical, I won't be surprised if they declare a Bombay Bandh for 15 days when he dies.

What I fail to see is, why should others stop celebrating when one leader is ill? Shouldn't it be a personal choice? Some people have a problem when younger generation celebrates Valentine's day, they have a problem when you are out on Diwali day, enjoying a quiet dinner with family. How should Bombay people function then? We are more scared of our political leaders than the terrorists. I make my plans after watching the news, and I am sure most of the Bombayites do the same.

It's a sad state that we live under fear all the time - fear of life, fear of death, fear of attack, fear of natural calamity, fear of humans and gods. And we still step out of home and call it spirit of Mumbai or whatever it is called these days. Because we have to survive. Just to get beaten up by one of those nutters who is hitting people as they stepped out on the day their leader was hospitalized, or their auto was stopped and autowala was fined as that leader sneezed thrice! And we live in a democracy.

I have always been proud of my city. Even post terror attack, or train bomb blasts, people resumed their normal lives in no time. Yes there was anger even then, but how pathetic and sad it is when you feel terrorised by your own people. It's not just sad or pathetic, it's suffocating. It makes you hate the best city you have lived in so far. There is no hope for improvement. One mafia goes, another one comes to rule. Children, nephews, grandchildren - everyone knows and wants to enter politics. And spread terror. They are white collar terrorists. They terrorise people and are still respected and followed. And they still get elected, again and again.

I hope they remain immortal and healthy forever. That's the only way we can live peacefully.

PS: Hope they don't kill me because I called them white collar terrorists and not saffron collar terrorists.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Strange people!

I do not remember the last time I opened "New Post" page, and that's saying something. As usual, busy times, crazy work and party schedule all the time, and I have been helping a few people start a blog. Thus, I have not been finding any time to blog. Talking about irony!

A lot has been happening on personal and professional front, but nothing significantly new that requires blogging. Nor have I felt like writing anything even though so many things happened which could have been blog worthy, but since they were not happening in my life, I didn't bother to write about them.

Every now and then I am reading about more and more cases of Domestic Violence. A little known fact is that most of the people think that it is limited to husband beating up his wife, but it also includes any physical harm by anyone who is family.

With digital media evolving, way too many social networking sites are around. And most of the people who have internet access are on almost all these sites. And once you are there, you kind of get an idea about what's happening around you even before others get to know. People share news and views from around the world, post interesting links and exchange information. But the same platform is abused too.

Not the first time that I have witnessed such an episode, but it surprises me every time I come across it. Girls blog/tweet about how their guys physically abused them. They even mention about how they were beaten up, what did that guy do exactly, how they wanted to file a complaint but couldn't and such things. What I fail to see is what's the need of going public about your sufferings? Before social networking sites too, people faced these problems and dealt with them accordingly; then why the sudden need of going public about the whole issue?

No I am not against going public about it, but do it only after you are over and done with that. After you have taken an action against the person doing so. And if you have not taken any action, then explain/mention why you didn't do so. Come out with the whole truth, mention all the important aspects of the situation instead of posting stuff that will gain you sympathy from others.

It's too easy to sit and enjoy the show, to come across as a victim, to have people around you standing with a box of tissues; but difficult part is to take an action. It requires guts to mention the wrong doer's name (who usually happens to be the husband) in front of the police due to society and family pressure.

And not all men are the same. It's funny to the extent of being utterly foolish when you blame the whole species for an act of one man. Yes, many are losers, but not all of them. 

It's a matter of time before the law officially passes about making social sites content admissible as evidence in the court of Law. Not that they don't consider that right now, but IT Act is yet to incorporate facebook/twitter/linkedin to the list. I won't be surprised if the next amendment has a clause specifically about social networking sites.

So, on the scale of one to Neha, how angry and frustrated are you right now?

PS: Ignore the header. It's there just because I didn't want to have a funny URL for the post.