Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Parallel Mumbai

Last week I walked through a maze of little windy lanes with houses on both sides. It’s the heat in between the rains, the humidity that slowly kills your patience. There was a thin line of “nulla” water that ran in the middle of this already small pathway. There was a stench that seem to be growing more and more intense as we got closer to where we were going. Where are we going ? I didn’t know. We were led by a junkie, who i wouldn’t have ever met, had it not been for my friend. She was getting a fake passport made. The man helping us was sitting somewhere at the end of this maze. I stepped on a thing on 2, but i dare not look at what I just squished. Fearing, I will just puke. He asked us for Rs 1 lakh !! Holy cow , I could buy half a car in that money.. But then again if it were for me, I wouldn’t be running away like this. I would be fighting the circumstances. However ugly they got.

Like I fought a long and ugly battle with the University of Mumbai ! But who am I to scoul at this poor soul. Each one of us would have done something equally BAD ASS. Stepped inside this parallel world that we don’t want to believe it exists. When I first got my mark sheet which read FAIL, I remember the walk of shame back from the university. I had indeed failed. On my way out, all I was looking for is people to console me. To tell me that it was a horrible mistake. In return who did I get ? I got people from the parallel world, inviting me in. From the peon to the doorman, all offered some solution – bribe me, bribe me, bribe me. Pay me 10,000, ill get you fake marksheet. Give me 20,000 I’ll get you original marksheet. Give me 30,000 I’ll change your present marksheet. Each one wanting to fight my battle if I was willing to step into their PARALLEL WORLD.

We have seen this being talked about in many a movie. FASHION talks about the parallel Mumbai.. which maybe glitzy and all glamour, but at the bottom of it lies a black hole that sucks you right into it. Fame and fortune are just an entry access to the parallel. On the other side of the spectrum is the parallel world of the beggars shown in the movie Traffic Signal. You don’t know about it, until you are a part of it.

This Parallel world exists in every walk of life. From getting a birth certificate to your Rationing card. Each day 1000 of individuals come to Mumbai in hope of a better life. Even before they get a job, they register themselves as a part of the Parallel world. They become illegal occupants who will now fight for their rights in slum rehabilitation schemes. If you are a wealthy individual, you still find yourself claiming to be a backward class individual for easy admission into a college. The next moment you see MHADA houses being sold you become a part of the higher income group.

At each step you have people from the parallel world luring you into their world. Mumbai and its people live in some parallel world or the other ! If you are not a part of any parallel world, or you cannot be a part of this then Mumbai is not a place for you. More often than ever now, we have seen people giving into these pressures.. suicides and deaths... Confirming their non-acceptance of this PARALLEL WORLD !


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