Everyday morning I start from my house in Santacruz to go to my office in Prabhadevi with only one question in my mind, how much late I will be today (from the late coming limit of ten min. in our office). Traffic jam starts from my street itself then Bandra then Mahim and so on. Three years back I used to take twenty minutes less for the same journey. Thank God I am no Bill Gates or the losses will run in Millions of Dollars per day. While coming back from the office in the evening......please dont even ask because I generally loose track of time after one hour. And the credit goes to lot of entities (which I will write later) but majorly to our roads embedded with countless potholes. Moreover when MMRDA decides to do the overhauling of roads, they start with those which are in good condition keeping aside those roads where there is no road but only potholes.
Once I was in a hurry to reach my home for my marriage anniversary and got stuck at Mahim in a horrible traffic jam. It took me not less then two hours to crawl to Bandra from Mahim. Suddenly my fellow car driver asked me, "Boss is this road going to Borivali", already in a bad mood I answered him, "Boss I dont know whether this road leads to hell or heaven but atleast not to Borivali today". This is the situation of roads in Mumbai.
Now comes our over-smart Traffic Police or so called Mama's. I can bet that if they are present at some non-working signal, they will make sure that traffic is also non-moving, afterall there should be some synchronization between signal and traffic, its there theory or style of working. Towing vans are so quick and they will take your vehicle so fast that you always wonder, I can make a movie with them "Gone in 10 Seconds only". They can charge fine from you for hundred of reasons and you cannot do anything except paste a big grin on your face and try to push a 50 or 100 rupee note in their already heavy pockets and solve the matter (which still you are not sure what it is) with minimum amount possible. I sometime used to compare them with Yamraj and thakfully our Mumbai City got hundreds of them.
After all this here comes BMC. I remember a quote given by some worried soul to DNA newspaper which they put on several hoardings in the city saying "What BMC is digging for: Oil, Gold or Fun". Very true, what BMC is digging for cannot be explained by me atleast. In last three months they had digged the street in front of my house three times at the same place. Anyway lets not mention my street's name or they will come and dig it again. Garbage removal system is so slow and smell coming out of it is so terrible that sometimes you feel that you are living in a dustbin. Unauthorized Slums, roadside hawkers, excess no. of autorickshaws and taxis..........the list of issues is so big that I am not able to mention and BMC is happily sleeping over them.
Now comes another issue. Taxes. For each and every thing which comes to Mumbai City (except human beings) there is an additional tax called Octroi which is roughly 4.5% and after Value Added Tax and other charges it comes to approx 5.5%. That means we have to shell out this money from our pocket for each and everything. You will not believe one thing that Mumbai City is having two refineries, still cost of Petrol and Diesel is highest here in India. If oil companies dont have to even spend too much on transportation of refined fuel then why the hell cost of it is highest here. In one thing we had even left Shanghai behind, that is property rates. God only knows what will happen in future.
And now comes the latest issue, power cuts. BEST had suggested all the multiplexes to stop screening shows after 6pm. What a suggestion, that means if somebody plans to go to a movie on some weekday, one thing is sure, either you take leave from the office or bunk school or college whatever is applicable to you. Dont put AC's below 26 degrees was another suggestion. Why dont we remove them, atleast you can say I am feeling hot because AC is not there, you will not feel that with AC also you are sweating. Why cant anybody here can think something creative to save electricity. You can promote CFL's instead of normal bulbs, advice consumers to change old heavy fans with new light ones, stop theft of electricity, educate consumers not to use lights during day time and many more but stop giving these foolish suggestions.
After reading all these things you will be thinking that life is hell out here in Mumbai but sorry its not the truth. What makes Mumbai a heaven is the spirit of Mumbai which never dies. I am sure there will be lot more issues in future but nothing can dampen this spirit. If you dont remember what happened on 26th July 2005, I will polish your memory. During the floods the spirit shown by people of Mumbai cannot be matched by anyone in this whole world. When everyone was running for life, when everybody was scared, people sitting comfortably in their homes came out and helped each other. There was not a single complaint regarding any theft or robbery or riots during the whole course of event. Nobody came for their rescue but they themselves became heroes. Because I was myself a part of that calamity I can tell you the feeling what I had that day is above any such short term frustrations. That day if you ask me you cannot compare Mumbai City with even heaven, it was something beyond that. I am dead sure that nothing can derail Mumbai or Spirit of Mumbai from its tracks and obviously I am included in it because I a part of Mumbai. Anyway I had lived and absorbed that day in my life which very few can and now I am ready to live my whole life in Mumbai whether it is hell or heaven it doesnt matter because even today about those few memorable moments, my heart whispers to me............