Friday, November 28, 2008

The Spirit of Mumbai a sham.
There is no such thing.
When a Mumbai-ite gets back onto a local train the day after a bombing, gets back on the road after a flood, and resumes life in general - stop saluting 'the spirit of mumbai' that refuses to be cowed.
What option did he ever have, anyway?
The cost of living is astronomical. You live from month to month, hand to mouth. An unpaid week is a disaster, a month without a job, the end. Can you afford to lose even a few day's wages?
All the offices are in one place, and residential areas - at minimum - several kilometers away. And just 2-3 roads and a train line that connect the two. If you want to live near your workplace, you can afford it pretty much only if you own the workplace. The lower down the hierarchy you are, the further away you stay.

So how do you work? You commute. An hour, two, three, and on bad days, four or five hours of each day go in just getting from home to work and back. Usually via multiple methods - buses, trains, bikes, cabs, walking...

This is the spirit of mumbai. A complete lack of any alternatives. When the average man on the street can choose to continue life as usual - or kill his dreams and leave - or starve.
Some choice, huh?

Do I want to get back on the train, back on the road, back at work? No. I don't. But can I choose to stay at home? Can I choose to travel by any alternative means, take a different road, avoid the train stations, the crowds that are an automatic target? Yeah, right.
I can't not work. I can't not travel. I can't even not take the same route through the same places!
Life is so fast, and so compressed... it streamlines. People that can fit in with this, who can streamline themselves, stay - they who can't, leave. But the pace keeps increasing, and increasing, and increasing...
...and you all know what happens when something at high speed twitches.

The whole machinery is racing along a catastrophe curve, a hundred miles an hour. We've been lucky so far - but we're living on borrowed time. What happened so far is nothing compared to what's coming, and coming it is.
Make no mistakes. It's just a matter of time now.