Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No time to stop and stare for a while...

A very warm season's greetings to one and all....!!
It's truely time for festivities...at least for some of us...
Since Eid I have been doing a little bit traveling....here and there...
Ramazaan having gone with no time for self....I needed a much wanted break. And as far as I am concerned...any reason to travel anywhere is good enough!
So, immediately after Eid I left for Surat. Spent a good four days there. Not that I traveled the city by foot or went around the whole place. It's always the people that I find most intruiging. The people of the place define what the place is like. Otherwise, mostly everything is Antarctica....all the same...over and over...
From there I returned back home for a day's respite to move to Burhanpur. Now, for those who have never heard of the place - Burhanpur is a small town/village located on the border of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. It's not very huge. I don't recall having seen any buildings that went beyond a third floor.... But it's bigger than a village would be...so, I call it a town. It has a lot of religious and a strong historical background. Well, if you are wondering what I was doing there... there in Burhanpur, is one very sacred ziyarat of Hakimuddin Moula...who is highly revered by Dawoodi Bohras as also by people of other faiths.
Now, on our second day there we were told there is curfew going on. That took us by surprize.

Then we discovered there were riots that have been happening around Dhulia (Maharashtra) since Eid. Now, since it had started spreading and there had been certain incidents that had happened in Burhanpur that morning. That had lead to the ensuing curfew. So, we were restricted within the premises.

Now, the next day we were to return back to Mumbai. Since the Dargah-e-Hakimi had special priviledges we had no difficulty getting back to the station. But it was while we were in the train that really made me think and re-think.

Boarding the train we realized that half the train was empty. Most people who had reservations did not turn up. Still, it was not empty....just that under normal circumstances, that particular stretch is over-crowded. Those who travel by the Kalyan-Igatpuri-Nasik-Bhusaval route know what its like. Usually it's full of life and people. However, I believe because of the riots or similar reasons, most people were holed up. Take for example Nasik. Very popular. For residential and business reasons alike. When the train hit Nasik around 7.30 in the evening, you could not find a soul on the platform!! A similar scenerio ensued on Igatpuri, Bhusaval, etc. Even as a child I could tell Igatpuri by its commotion and sweet aroma of various types of food. This time around it was dark and empty.

However, when we got off at Thane, life looked usually. At 10 in the night, there were people scurrying in all directions to get to their desired destinations. My best guess is that no one had heard anything about a curfew or riots on some other parts of the state or country.

It's things like these that make me stop and think.

We Mumbaites are at times so full of ourselves and our miniature lives that we don't ever bother looking over our shoulder. The incidents happening were just a few hours away from us. So close. Yet we somehow just choose to always look the other way...as if nothing is happening...or has ever happened.

I know that Mumbai is the city for the dreams. Everyone here is on a mission. I know life moves so fast here that at times its easy to even forget why we started running in the first place.

Maybe instead of a Mumbai Marathon, its time Mumbai city could take break... It could take the time to stop and stare....

But then maybe Mumbai would not remain what it is now.

The question remains - can Mumbai have a heart that beats for others without loosing its true spirit???