You're never gonna keep me down!
You can bend me, but I wont break! I will bounce back. 17 years living in this city, and this is the biggest lesson I have learnt from the metropolis. Mumbai, one of the largest cities anywhere, was rocked once again with a series of blasts targetted at the public transport system.
One can just see through the cruelty of the planning.
-- The western railway carries over 2 million people a day.
-- 6pm is the time when the trains are packed not to capacity, but well past it.
-- First class is the only compartment where one can deftly move in and out through the scores of commuters.
7 blasts go off at various points on the railway line leaving close to 200 dead and over 700 injured. Purely insane lack of respect for innocent human lives.
Rising like a phoenix
I wasnt surprised this morning though when the very railway that got hit by the blasts started services early this morning again - less than 12 hours after the explosions put a spanner in their works. Nothing gets affected here. Schools, offices, colleges, shops - everythings back to normal. The city simply bounced back like I counted on it to.
Of course, it isn't the city thats remarkable, it is the citizens. New York, London, Madrid; we have seen them taken down by terrorist attacks. And we have seen how they took it. I cant meet enough New Yorkers, or Americans for that matter, who show how badly 9/11 impressed their minds. I cant forget how panicky London police got and had some scorn left over for me at London airport. When every other citizen would have hibernated to a shell, or should I call it a nuclear holocaust security cell in their basement if they are really paranoid, the Mumbaikar will take the blow, goto sleep and wake up the next morning like nothing happened.
There have been innumerable instances where the city was brought down to its knees - the 13 serial blasts in 1993, the massive flooding from last year, intermittent terrorist incidents every now and then. Nothing could even stir this spirit. It is the fact that people fight everyday. To make ends meet. To travel from home to schools and workplaces and back. To make time for friends and family. They have seen how hard life can be. So much that they have become kinda hardened. The mumbaikar is still passionate, but they dont have the time to get bogged down and cry. Life, they know, must always go on.
I can never forget what this city has taught me. Which is why I feel so relaxed, so happy to return to its throes. The streets may be filthy, the traffic snarled, the stress levels steep, the crowds mangled. But, getting through it all unscathed is what makes one realise how strong they are. Damn yes, I salute this city, one like I've never seen. Although I may not want to settle down with a house there anymore, I will always remember what it has meant to me. The city never gets rocked!