Written in anguish on a wet morning in 2013, published after being stuck in traffic for the SAME amount of time, on a wet morning in 2014!!!!
I am addressing this letter to all of you concerned with Mumbai and its infrastructure so that you dont give me the usual finger pointing and say that ‘yeh mera kaam nahi hai’ (This is not my work). Unfortunately, I have realised, yeh aap sab ka kaam hai (Each one of you is responsible for this work)
Honestly, I give up. I give up, as a citizen of Mumbai, who pays taxes regularly, who ensures she follows every rule in the book, and who feels that doing her bit to Mumbai, will come back to her.
No, it doesnt.
What are you doing? Will you see this city doing down the drains, gasping for breath and dying out , before you pull your act up? I am fed, truly fed up with the kind of infrastructure you are providing us.
It takes 1.5 hours in the morning for me to cover a distance of about 18 kilometres and in the evenings it takes me 2 hours. Why Why Why? Because of the condition of the roads, the utter lack of traffic sense because there is no space and the even more horrid lack of public transport. And everytime I board a train, I play with my destiny. Its surprising that I am a mother, and yet I take this risk with my life everyday…every time I board or alight a train. One day, my luck may run out!
What exactly are you doing for us? We are the citizens of Mumbai. If we pay such high taxes, we do expect a little returns. I have reached a stage that even if I reach home in 40 minutes, I feel as if its one of the miracles on earth. In my hometown, I would cover 15 kilometres in a maximum of 25 minutes. But here, its like a dream. If I tell anyone that I could do it back them at home, they laugh at me. Beta, tu mumbai mein hai they tell me!
I am so frustrated, that I feel like running away. Yes, running away from a city which is known as the city of dreams, the magical city. Honestly, there is absolutely nothing dream like left here. Every day is a struggle and every damn Mumbaikar is a struggler. We struggle to get into trains, struggle to get vegetables within Rs.400 which can last us for a week, struggle to get water which seem to arrive in unearthly hours, struggle to reach a place on time, struggle to find an honest government person, struggle to weave through traffic! Everyday, I live in Mumbai, I feel I am fighting a war. Every day I go back home so exhausted, that all I can think about is sleeping. I snarl at my child and snap at my husband. No fault of theirs.They understand my struggle.(Thats why they are still living with me!). and this is honestly only because I am so tired travelling.
Well if not anything, I should applaud you for contributing in the upbringing of my daughter. The brat knows that Amma is tired and goes out of the way to help me, whether its setting the dinner table, putting her clothes to wash in the machine, setting the vessels in the shelves, or just sitting by me and telling me ‘Amma aaj tired ho kya’ (amma, are you tired today!)
That metro which you promised in 2010, came up in 2014! The phase 2 hasnt even finished geotechnical study (or is it already cancelled???) and the phase three plans are on. Honestly you guys have no sense of planning AT ALL!
What should have been given to us 20 years ago, you are trying to give us now. How will it work? How do you expect the damn city to survive at this rate? and lets not even get started on the conditions of the roads, or the water pipelines or the trains.
I challenge any official to get into a crowded train at Andheri in peak hours without struggling…I swear you will fail miserably. and then try doing it day in and day out for years together…you wont live long for that, with all the stress you take. And yet, that’s what millions of Mumbaikars have been doing all their lives…
Why? Why should we suffer like this? Why cant you use that whatever crores of Rupees you get to upgrade our lives. We are what makes Mumbai and what make you. I assure you that if this continues for any longer, We have the power in us to break Mumbai and break you.
Don’t push your luck too far because if the public gets bugged, expect nothing short of a revolution then! We will be in the streets, while you will be cowering in your plush bungalows fearing your lives.
OF course, you can always tell me to go back to my home town, why stay here and crib about it eh? you are right…I think I will retreat, but I am venting out my frustrations only to warn you, that dont ever underestimate the power of people…you dont know where it will take you.
A totally disillusioned citizen!