I have a meeting at Belapur today. As I climb down the bridge to Matunga Central station, busy listening to my ipod, I couldn't help but notice the stark difference between western stations and central ones. The crowd is different. The occupations are different. Even the digital displays are older and about to fall off the roof, which itself has not been repaired in last 50 years. All in all it was a different world just a bridge away from the western line station. Anyone who has visited Mumbai once will know that the city is divided into haves and haves not by west and east along this long coastal cosmopolitan city.
While I'm waiting for my train,I read my newspaper which tells me about the elitist problems in the finances of the richest street in the world. I just look up to see if the train is arriving and right in front of me beyond the railing I see this woman taking bath. Out of the nala water (open waste/sewage line) which was flowing beside the railway track!!! I don't know what to feel, disgusted or sympathetic. The woman is topless in front of a child (and 100s of passengers at the station) and having bath in waste water. She has a plastic polybag which she is using to fill that yellow water and pour on to her naked body. The child is brushing his teeth with that water. All this was a jolt out of my ipod and my economic paper.
Oh now the lady is now talking. To four other women. All topless and coming to take a bath! It's a sad scene. I am getting goose bumps while I am watching them. And I looked around hoping to see no one staring at them. Apparently, it was not a sad scene anymore. It was a porn show being watched by 200 men and one woman. Oops, time to turn my back to this whole scene as I was the only female gawking in that direction. All others were already looking the other way.
And just like that, I was again jolted back to my ipod and my paper. I am looking forward to the meeting where I am going to discuss our data requirements with my IT department.
Doesn't it make you realise how each minute and each second that is wasted in the name corruption and sheer laziness of our policy making agencies, our government, and our bureaucrats is injustice or rather cruelty to human life? And even if we manage to do it all right and perfect, will this particular woman ever have her own bathroom IN HER LIFETIME? With a confidence level of 99.9999999% I can reject this hypothesis. And I feel what I am reading in the newspaper is all so rubbish and meaningless. Even as an avid supporter (or rather fanatic) of free markets, at this second I wish if only our government could just give them money to build their houses and bathrooms. If only.