Indomitable. Unquenchable. The Spirit of Mumbai. [cue violins]
Enough already. You're making me throw up.
A city is a place. A geography. Like a state. Or a country. A municipal ward. A neighbourhood. Boundaries we create. We. Human beings. People.
Tell me, the stuff you saw the other day, the stuff you lived through, tell me now, did it seem all soft-edged and romantic?
Don't get me wrong. I'm awed, choked up, by the heroism. By the struggle against the odds. My heart breaks when I see the pain, the grief. But that's human beings being the best that they can in the face of other human beings being complete evil bastards. It's just the good in all of us showing through. Ain't got nothing to do with the geography. If it did, hey, there's enough heroism to see on a day to day basis on your way to work. If it did come down to the city, why aren't we crying everytime we see babies play in the muck besides the railway lines? Why aren't we breaking down when we watch a legless human being drag himself from car to car at traffic signals asking for money? Why aren't we frigging appalled and stung into action by children working for a living?
Stray thought. So you're pissed off about the TV channels shoving gore on to prime time. Or you're upset about the invasion of privacy. Oh you're disgusted about the way they're promoting themselves on the coat-tails of suffering. Tell me now, they're just showing a different aspect of that same spirit that we love to call the Spirit of Mumbai. They're Getting Down To Business. They're making the most of whatever opportunities life throws their way. They're seeking a share of your viewing time because that't their business. It's the same reason why you took a train to work on Wednesday. Because you must. Or lose out.
Another stray thought. I was exchanging SMSes with a friend. She asked about some Sri Lankan lads I know. She mentioned that one of her friends had been blown up at the Elephant Pass a little while ago. Over there in the "Emerald Isle," they've been getting it in the neck so long it's a part of life for them. You must talk to Morquendi sometime. Anyway.
My friend—the one who I started out the previous paragraph with not the Lankans—said, wouldn't it be great if this was the last of it for the year? Wouldn't it be nice if we had a a year's global armistice? A year without wars, terrorism, bombs, fighting?
A year, I said, A year!? Why not Peace In Our Lifetime? (I talk like that sometimes, In Capitalised Words.) The odds are better for a year, she said.
Is that what we're down to? Hoping for a few months of peace? Oh the humanity.
Oh, and that's a phrase I found reverbrating in my head the last couple of days. I looked it up, but I'm still not clear what it actually means. I'll give you Nilanjana's take instead. She said it better: I don't know what it means, but I know exactly what he meant.
Where was I?
Oh yes. The Spirit of Mumbai. We'll hear a lot of this in the weeks to come. How brave we are. How we never say die. (Tell that to the poor sods who got blown up.) Me? If I had my druthers, I'd prefer that we didn't have to prove ourselves in this way every few years.
Man. I really shouldn't write when I'm angry and depressed at the same time. It gets me into deep shit.
I'd better stop.