....and all that jazZ

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Mumbai: An international city ?


Are you implying that its not? I stare back indignantly. Why, we also have malls !. Oh and not to forget multiplexes. There sure is a lot of money and enough people throwing it around. Did you say "what about the slum dwellers?". Yeah what about them ? "They are the first thing that you see from the plane as you land into very very poorly kept international (so called) airport." But we have MacDonalds, Subway, Baristas, Hookah bars, Bed Lounge, Fire and Ice, and Olive, and.....

The Economist has a feature on Mumbai. In lieu of BPOs and India's booming feel good economy. It has a section called business etiquette. I am listing a couple here:

"• Do not expect western levels of speed and efficiency. Getting a document delivered by courier, sending a fax, or simply gathering colleagues for a business meeting can all take far longer than seems reasonable. The same goes for punctuality: if someone promises to meet you in ten minutes, expect arrival in 20.

• Mumbai's traffic is notoriously bad: allow ample time if you need to cross the city to get to a meeting. When choosing your hotel, bear in mind where most of your meetings will take place.

• Very little business gets done in Mumbai when a big cricket match is on. Visitors would do well to catch up on cricket news, especially the latest exploits of Sachin Tendulkar, a local hero in Mumbai (he also owns Tendulkar's, a well-regarded restaurant)."

I mumble and I fumble. We do have malls, you know. And you can also buy original Armani there. "Should'nt this change? Should'nt we be sending out different vibes to the rest of the world if we are ever to rise above our third world status? Is anyone listening ? Does anyone care? Do you care? Or do you say "Chalta hai yaar". Nahin chalega !! Attitudes must change if we are to change the city for better.The city is spilling over and tearing at its seams. And we need better infrastructure better services and above all better attitudes. It still takes MTNL 3 months to get you a phone in parts of this "international" city and another 3 months to get cable-net which is as fast as dial up elswhere in the world. We need cleaner streets and people with a civic sense, a sense of responsibility and sense of pride stemming from belonging and hence owning up to these responsibilities. We need to stop for a moment and take a look around us and ask ouselves " what can I do today to help this mess?" Saying that BMC is corrupt inefficient ineffective is not enough. We are all cogs in the wheel. Why is it okay to be late. There is nothing fashionable about it. All it says to the other person is that I dont respect your time. There is no pride in taking 3.5 hours to go 10km. How long are we going to simply say oh the roadds are soo bad and shrug our shoulders and why is that acceptable to authorities who have vested interests anyways in the money that comes in from foreign investors? How long are we going to hold our breaths and life in anticipation for another miracle from Sachin?"

I shuffle my weight around. I see my bus in the distance crawling towards the stop making its way through the overcrowded streets. I spit out my chewing gum on the pavement. Its already dirty anyways. I push my way through the crowd as I get into the bus, the conductor yelling "Jaldi Jaldi". What can I do anyways. What can one person do ?, I think. So I say "Chalta hai Yaar. What to do, We are like this only !!!!"


2 Comments:

  • http://www.epw.org.in/showArticles.php?root=2005&leaf=10&filename=9209&filetype=html
    -- Akshaya

    Originally @ Oct 21, 2005 05:14 PST

    By Anonymous Akshaya, at 12:01 AM  

  • Mumbai is not an international city yet. In fact that's why there have been talks of the "Shanghai-isation" of it lately, which has received a lot of flak as well. Having shopping malls, Barista's and international line-ups of that order and having money (by just a handful of people) doesnt really account for the making of an "international" city.
    We are hopefully on our way to becoming one, but just like everything else has, this too will take its own time.

    Originally @ Oct 21, 2005 06:59 PST

    By Anonymous shweyts, at 12:03 AM  

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