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Friday, July 29, 2005

Salaam Bombay !

As most of us know by this time, Mumbai has been lashed with torrential Monsoon showers, that has resulted in the loss of so many lives. I cannot but help feel sorry for them. My cousin brother Ganesh (a.k.a Swami) stayed and taught in Mumbai for more than 8 years and he wrote a lovely email about the place and the spirit that it has.

Here is the excerpt from the email:

The last four days all of us who have watched any of the Indian TV channels, be it NDTV, Aaj Tak, DD, or whatever, have been (electronic) witness to the results of near-catastrophic or shocking events in many forms: the Honda incident at Gurgaon, the deluge (rain would be too mild a word for the occasion) in Mumbai, the fire at the Bombay High oil rig, and so forth, to an extent where news of a street accident where a couple of lives were lost, might seem camomile ! The news of the explosion in the Shramjeevi Express did not seem as shocking as it might have been, so immune have we become to news of casuaties.and loss of life !

I believe one event that has seen the true triumph of the human spirit in the face of natural calamity, amongst these recent events, is the response of the people of Mumbai to the unprecedented rains and subsequent flooding that paralysed life in "the city that never sleeps" ! The stoic unwillingness to yield submissively to havoc wrecked by the forces of nature, the grit and determination to find a way out (and home), of all those who were stranded at one point or another (children returning from school, adults homeward-bound from work), the helping hand lent by those who could, to those who could not, help themselves, speaks volumes of the spirit of these people to rise to the occasion in the face of the "potent" combination of Nature's fury and a lack of preparedness on the part of the government to deal with such calamities.

I lived in Mumbai for some eight years, and have myself seen many a monsoon fury lash this city time and again, and have always marvelled at the spirit of the people living there, to "bounce back" from such calamities. I have lived in other cities in India, too, most recently Bangalore, and I hope and pray that the kind of calamities that have struck Mumbai, never strike other cities, for though one may hold the government to task in Mumbai, for being unprepared, they are are still in far better shape infrastructure-wise than in a place like Bangalore, where the infrastructure is so pathetic and the government civic agencies so incompetent, that it would require a superhuman effort from the people here to even try and deal with such situations.

Here's to all you spirited Mumbaikars - may you never have to face such a calamity again !

In the end, I just have to say - "Salaam Bombay" !


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