Dear BMC/MMRDA/Mumbai Railways Authorities

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!

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About R's Mom

Not-so-new-mom
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23 Responses to Dear BMC/MMRDA/Mumbai Railways Authorities

  1. 😦 Every Indian city is slowly becoming unliveable. I thank my stars that I work from home. I used to travel over 20 kms one way for work when I was in Chennai. So EXHAUSTING.

  2. mahabore says:

    Not that this comment will make you feel any better about the current situation, but this is pretty much the tale of every relatively big city in the country today. All of them are bursting at their seams with crumbling infrastructure, lack of facilities to dispose garbage, bad public transport facilities, the list of problems go on and on. This is not a Mumbai specific issue, but a complete lack of apathy on the part of urban planners in India today. Wonder where all this will lead to.

    • R's Mom says:

      yes loads of people told me most large cities have the same problem….you are right..we are way behind in our urban planning 😦 I feel one day Mumbai will just burst like a volcano or something and throw people to far away places (what imagination na!! )

  3. srividhya says:

    Hi RM,
    I have never been to Mumbai, so I have no clue about Mumbai traffic, also I don’t know if I can talk about Chennai traffic now. But I can clearly understand your frustration as I have been in that situation too.
    How is R’s commute? Hope her commute is not tiring.
    When I was working in Chennai (2007), I was living in PG for couple of months which was very close to my work, at a walkable distance. But during NE monsoon and especially during cyclones, I realized there is no point in staying close by also. Walking to work with a minimum of 3 feet water was a daunting task. (I am always scared about the water snakes, which is very common during rainy season in Chennai)I had to carry two set of clothes always. No autos, share autos. When parents moved to Chennai, I couldn’t fine affordable house close to work, so move little farther. Even though my travel time was 40 mts, but I had to use all means of transport within that time period. Share auto, train and company bus. There is this stretch of area(Anna university to Madhya kailash), which decides my actual time of arrival. πŸ™‚ There are few infrastructure changes in chennai, but I am not sure if its helping people or not. This time in my mom’s place, she was not ready to let me go by walk anywhere after 7PM because of chain snatchers. ???
    Traffic is equally bad in Bay area too. We live close to my work, so my commute is very easy. But for my husband, on a normal day during peak traffic hours it takes minimum of 1.5 to 2 hrs to cross 17 miles. He changed his schedule so as to avoid traffic.
    Lets hope some miracle happens.

  4. D's Mom says:

    I totally identify with you RM….the fears, the fruustrations, the struggles everything. I too travelled to Andheri for work for several years and I agree it is the worst place in Mumbai to travel to. The roads in Andheri (e)…lets not even get to that!!! Not that the rest of Mumbai is any better!
    The city already went down the drains in the 26/7 deluge yet the state of infrastructure hasn’t improved AT ALL!
    Even I used to wonder why I am paying those hefty taxes when I don’t get to see any results.
    You are really lucky to have such a loving and understanding family …God bless!
    But not everyone is so lucky. The authorities can never fathom the struggle lakhs of people (esp women) undergo every single day to earn a livelihood…and honestly I don’t even think they care.

    • R's Mom says:

      Andheri is horrid na *Hugs to a co Andheri sufferer*

      Exactly, why the hell are we paying taxes like this when nothing comes back to us!

      Hugs hugs hugs

  5. Comfy says:

    Oh RM! I can so understand, I snap at my kids and husband without the commute stress that you go through day in day out. I can’t imagine what the impossible to step in trains, the submerged subways during rainy season, the commute time would do to me.

    Big big hugs! and a special one for R!

  6. pixie says:

    hugs RM!! :-/

  7. You know, I have felt like this many a times while travelling in Bangalore. The same distance that used to take me 20 minutes to travel in Ahmedabad takes me over an hour to travel in Bangalore. Traffic congestion, narrow roads, and a lot of other factors contribute. If it rains, the situation is worse. This was one of the major reasons I quit work – because the stress was getting too much to take.

    The OH travels almost 2 hours each way, to and from work. I am really worried about his health, but then he has been doing it for the last 10 hours or so.

    In Bangalore, the only way to live comfortably is if you have a house within 3-5 km of your office. Otherwise, life is hell.

    I totally get you there…

    • R's Mom says:

      And like you I keep comparing Mumbai to Baroda…its not a great thing to do..but I can so understand what you went through!!

      2 hours one way eh? Aiyooo what a pain! Poor guy..and doing it for 10 years!!! hai bhagwan…

  8. This is true for all cities in India…Taxes line pockets of our netas and babus…A small percentage actually spent on public utilities and even then most of the time contracts are awarded to inferior contractors…Sigh!

  9. Prachee says:

    True RM..
    staying in Mumbai since 6 years, I do not see any future here…I cannot imagine myself (10 years down the line) working so hard just to reach office…forget about real work.. 😦
    I think that big cities are fine to work, earn money for a few years and then go back and have a relaxed and less exhausting life. Anyway earning-spending equation is same everywhere. The higher earnings are compensated by high expenses for basic amenities, all in all savings r same. Don’t know why we are struggling so hard..!!

    Only thing I would say is the medical facilities which lack in smaller cities, for which I would always prefer Mumbai.
    And believe me, Rains are worst in smaller cities, It all depends on how much you are spending in making your home safe, BMC people have ZERO responsibility for anything that happens. With lots of unplanned projects coming up since few years in my hometown, the water logging in our street is so bad, that 10 min of heavy downpour results in flooding on road and with every big vehicle passing by, the dirty drain water comes inside the house. Imagine the scenario.. 😦
    And the project for rectification is pending since years now. This is the situation in main center of the city..!!

    I guess, there are pros and cons everywhere..

    • R's Mom says:

      I dont know rey..medical facilities where I lived was super awesome..never found that an issue..and honestly, I think medical facilities in Bombay are worse because by the time the ambulance comes out of the traffic jam, the person would be dead perhaps 😦

      Yes of course there are pros and cons everywhere..but somehow that day I found it so frustrating, that I may just cajole RD into moving out of this city!

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