A day of my life in bustling Mumbai. A simple commuting for a job interview that turned into a story, thanks to the incidents that unfolded, summing up the city's anger and arrogance. Here's how it happened...
The City of Mumbai - resilient, courageous and patient. However, Mumbaikars are full of anger and impatience. Worse, this anger isn't being channelized positively. Here’s an instance making me feel so.
March 4, 2009... After an interview with an Event Management firm in Chunabhatti, I was waiting for a bus to return home to Chembur. However, out of 3 buses plying that route, only 1 was destined for Chembur, and all 3 had bad frequency. Moreover, the heat was worsening. Hence, I boarded the Kurla-bound bus that arrived first. After reaching Kurla, my left sandal wore out at the strap. Also, the heat was intensifying and none of the 7 buses from Kurla to Chembur were visible. Hence, I took a rickshaw.
The driver had played some loud sleazy Bhojpuri tracks. At the red signal, a black Toyota Innova was coming ahead at our left . The guy driving it wanted to overtake but he couldn't, due to another rickshaw stalled ahead of us (because of which even our rickshaw couldn't move further); so, he threatened our rickshawwala, "Tu aage chal, phir main tujhe wahaan batata hoon (You come ahead, there I'll show you)”. That Toyota guy was middle-aged, bespectacled and moustached, wearing a pink shirt and blue boxers.
He stepped out of his Black Beauty and grabbed the rickshawwala's collar who went mute. As the signal turned green, the Innova guy repeated, “Tu aage chal, phir main tujhe wahaan batata hoon”. I was quiet and dumbfounded, never having experienced such a situation before. My fare was running high and this man was blocking our way, threatening to the rickshawwala,”Chal abhi main tujhe havaldar ke paas leke jaata hoon (Wait, I'll take you to the constable)”. I felt he was simply “driving” himself nuts over such a trivial matter. The rickshaw driver finally shrieked,”Ab aage jaao na, problem kya hai tumhe uncle? (Now go ahead, what's your problem?)” But, the Innova guy was hellbent on revenge. I didn’t want to fight back as I didn’t want to be classified in the same category as him. So, I noted the Innova’s number on my bus-ticket. I resolved that if my meter amount exceeded Rs 20, I’ll make him pay it.
He carried on his revenge. Already, that road was dug up and he was creating nuisance for others as well. When he saw two traffic policemen, he stopped his car and complained about the driver. But, the policeman calmly replied,”Jaao na aage, tumko kya problem hai? (Move ahead, what's your problem?)” After he left, the rick driver complained to the policeman about the entire ruckus by that moron. The policeman replied,”Aage jaao na, kuch nahi hoga. (Go ahead, nothing will happen).”
I can declare that the Toyota man wanted to avenge even more, because his Innova was waiting at the road that went left. But seeing that we were taking the road right, he left fuming. I got down at my destination, paid the rickshawwala 19 bucks (No, the fare didn’t cross 20) and started walking towards my home. Even after I alit from the rick and in the middle of all that drama, the noisy Bhojpuri songs were continously playing on his deck…