I have been living and working in Mumbai for more than five years now. While Mumbai may not be one of the greenest or cleanest city in the world, there is something in the spirit of Mumbai, which touches your heart every day.
The first and foremost attribute of the Mumbai spirit is the professionalism displayed by almost everyone living in this city. When it rains in Mumbai, it really pours. One day of heavy rain and it impacts the suburban rail system, the buses, cabs and almost all modes of transport. The city is sometimes paralysed. However, I have never seen my maid at home or my driver give me an excuse of rains and hence their inability to report for work. Work is worship and “Life goes on… ” irrespective of rain, sun or wind. People find their way. They may have to take a train, then a cab and a bus and may travel more than 40 Kms one way but they never have an excuse not ato discharge their duties conscientiously.
The second attribute of Mumbai, which I adore is the ability to bounce back. The city witnessed one of the world’s dastardly terror attack in November 2008 but it bounced back within days to normalcy. Subsequently, I have myself witnessed a few terror attacks in Zaveri bazaar, Dadar and other places but this does not lower the spirit of the common man here to bounce back and get back to his work. The city saw one of the worst floods in 2005 but it took just days to bounce back. I have lived across India but have not seen such a spirit anywhere else.
The third quality of this city is the co-existence of the rich and the poor with equal respect and space. The city is the host to some of the richest people in the world and they live in skyscrapers and own some of the costliest homes themselves. Next to these mansions are the slums, where the common Mumbaikars may be residing. Everyone is happy and content with what they have. There is no artificial attempt to show off their richness or hide their poverty. You cannot make out by the life style of anyone if she is rich or poor.
It is these attributes of Mumbai, which we can be proud of.
“Life goes on”,come what may. This has a lesson for each one of us to never give an excuse for anything, bounce back and be content with what you have in life.
My salutations to the spirit of Mumbai and to her citizens.
S Ramesh Shankar