I don’t notice it when I am sitting in class. I don’t notice it when I am climbing into a bus, shielded from heat and dust. But when I stare out of the windows into the real world, the world where AC and cars are epitome of wealth and luxury, I notice. I notice when the power cuts for those 5 minutes when the pitch black descends and I don’t have anyone to talk to except my brain. When the city that never sleeps takes a little nap. It’s a moment of calm in this crazy life, a quiet reminder of the insufficiency in this world and its people. In those 5 minutes however, the light comes back on and I have the capability of pushing aside all those meaningful thought bubbles and carry on a conversation with the person next to me about day-to-day activities.
However, the light doesn’t doesn’t always shine on the less fortunate. There are people still engulfed in darkness and doubt. What must it be like to live like them? To work every day, harder than the next person and still be in darkness?
It is in Mumbai that I found that however hard we want to believe that we are helping those in need, there is actually no connection between the two worlds the comfortable corporate sphere , weighed down with processes, deliverable and balanced scorecards versus the chaotic social microcosm that Mumbai really is and its suburbs, where slums, industry, Bollywood and stray dogs co-exist almost in a brutal fashion, shocking your senses at every turn.
In my perspective, Mumbai suffers from a multiple personality disorder and when you consider the juxtaposition of it’s beautiful mansions and well-kept cricket grounds and the children tapping on your car window for some change, you will agree with me at some point.
Don’t get me wrong, the poverty and the dirt do not stop the city from being home to more than a million people. There is happiness and there is cheer, the festivals and the food. There is supposedly enough for everyone and yet nothing for someone.
Mumbai means a lot to many people. It means a home, a city, a work place. To me, Mumbai seems more like a canvas. Not a complete picture but dollops of paint waiting to be spread to form a picture that one might no call perfect, but incomplete hence adding to its intrigue.