Monday, 16 April 2012

Rising From The Ashes..!!

5th March 2011

Flames gutted in the Gareeb Nagar slums leading to destruction of more than 1000 huts in Gareeb Nagar adjoining Behram Pada areas. As people were still trying to collect their belongings especially their ration cards and documents which could prove that they are residents of Mumbai. Authorities were seen facing the wrath of the slum dwellers because their response was tardy. Buckets of water and sand were poured successively. To calm down the blazing fire.
Kids were seen wailing as their mother was trying to collect belongings as much as she could. The memories were burnt to ashes and only hopes were their last resort.

                                           5th March 2012
Oh!! here it is again. Should i appreciate their courage as they are brave to overcome a life threatening tragedy. OR i should call them foolish as they have reformed their bastis again where the same incident could strike again risking their lives. 

Rising of new Era!!

WELL!! the people living here basically are from different parts.Some are Bangladeshis, some from Nepal and some from nowhere.. I mean its still unknown to them!! They settle here for limited period, paying rents and enjoying Mumbai life.These people have low income but high spirits. Some proprietors of the shanty stay off in some remote areas and just collect the rents which are way higher then the rents in remote areas.The owners have regenerated their shanties in such a way that it could anytime crash down, endangering their lives. But their willingness to continue to survive at the place where their memories of both happy and sad moments flourish. One plus two cement roof, unauthorized constructions has thereby increased the slums in these area. 
               And now it is almost 3-4 floors above ground

God forbid.. another tragedy awaits as these slums have dangerously overshot the limited space for them which has thereby risen to 3-4 floors above ground level. These developments often go unnoticed by the officials and when a catastrophic event occurs they are seen nowhere, leading to delays and more damage. If they keep monitoring these developments they would rectify serious issues in these slums thus preventing major destruction. Just imagine, if a fire breaks out or the temporary structure built crashes down... How could a fire brigade engine reach to the spot?? The lackadaisical approach of slum dwellers and authorities could lead to another BANDRA SLUM FIRE EPISODE!!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Mumbai Threatened

Rickshaw.. wait bloody.. , hey ruko, stop...!! i yelled. But not even a single rick turned back. It was 9 pm, peak hour where Mumbaikars rush towards train, bus and cab stations. I was at one of the secluded place in town where rickshaws were ample but they were really not interested in me I suppose!! I decided to give a shot in walking towards the train station but my mind replied back negatively as during this point of time travelling in trains is just like a battle to be fought. I said lets try once to stop a rick, i glanced on the road, an empty rick was approaching, bhaiya station jaana hai i pleaded..he nodded in return and now i was prepared for a jumpy, back aching ride on mumbai's potholed roads. In the meantime i was ready for  a journey of approx 20-25mins to my destination. I recently heard of Mumbai's Auto Union strike so i just gave a common man's piece of mind by poking him about the bandh fiasco. He replied in a vague manner that he only knew that he has to earn a living for his family. "We never declare strikes its just netas who create trouble in our lives" now in tone to show his protest aginst these strikes. I asked him if he knew leader of the rickshaw union? he said i have been driving in Mumbai for past five years and have never seen or heard about him but i know his name... its Sharad Pawar...!! i was astonished as i heard him.. Kya bola aapne?? Sharad Pawar he quickly replied. I made a quick correction there, and said its Sharad Rao..There was quietness in the air.. He started again on the very next signal, spitting off his paan, he said Saheb, we are just slaves, we slog on these roads, then pack off home only to realize nothing is gonna change. Regional differences,potholed roads, strikes, corrupt hawaldars are our added woes, atleast i am not the one who demands strikes, strikes leads to our losses. But these leaders don't understand and we are just their puppets who give them political mileage.
 I said then why the heck you go off roads?? drive and earn your living, why trouble common man? Now i was in a mood to give a tough fight. Common man V/s Rickshawalla. He said, we are forced to go off roads either they smash us or our ricks. You tamper your meters and avoid short distance trips.. fuming like he was the sole culprit. Saheb, we slog for long day facing several risks everyday, the rent of the vehicle, repairs, petrol, CNG, etc... we hardly earn a good amount after daily struggle. I reached my destination paying him the fare, i moved into railway station for another fight.
I Realized how handfull of goons sabotage life of Mumbaikars. Leaders just gain their political mileage through agendas like region, religion, demands. In a recent headline i read Sharad Rao Gives Ultimatum To The Government. That means another strike and to hinder lives of Mumbaikar.Who the Fu#* Is he?? The bloody neta who don't give a fuck if an autowallah dies hungry on roads. Strikes just fumes Mumbaikar and one day we would go on strike and YOU bloody asshole will remain off road. I mean why does Mumbaikar never comes forward like he did during every crisis.. Give Sharad Rao his shit and throw him out. Ultimatum!! huh.. The person who owns a bungalow, enjoying his rich life why would he give a damn to what an autowallah is facing.
Its high time that we allow our lives to be controlled by these handfull of morons.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Ban Ekta Kapoor.

 It was a usual morning but unusual beginning of the day as my anger which was building up since 5-6years ago crashed on my mom. My anger was all about Ekta Kapoor serials and crying shit which is making my life sucking and i feel like loser because my mom gets glued to this bloody Rona-Dhona and i suffer as i don't get lunch, dinner and even a cup of tea on time. Now you would say i am blithering and just dragging a small stupid situation like a chewing gum but seriously its making my life hell. Morning fights ruins your whole day and yes it did happen! It RUINED my day. As i saw my mom glued to one of the program showing some courtroom drama, i just went up to her and said let me watch some news channel as its my daily routine but she just snatched away the remote and started screaming. How rude!! Why was that for just to see a courtroom buff which she knows is reel??
Now i just got pissed as i switched the main button off to show my ire and sneaked into bathroom. She was still screaming that i turned the mains off. After a prolonged silence i came out , Brush in hand, remote on the other, i again switched the TV on and sat to listen some hindi songs. After some time i went to take bath as i came out i just balled over as i saw her again glued to that Ekta stuff. Now it was getting off my hand Ekta was sabotaging my family. I was supposed to hurry down at office as i was already late and Mom was supposed to pack my Lunch box. I asked her twice.. No RESPONSE.... i just fumed and picked up the remote and BANG!Pieces scattered, battery under the bed and damage beyond repair!! She shouted.. Dad intervened, pushed me aside.. it looked like Kushti ka akhada. Finally TV off... I took my bag, wore my shoes and i just walked off. So now i had no lunch box and i was planning for Anna ka Anshan against Ekta Kapoor for making crap serials, mood was arrghh..!!to bang someone like a remote.
Controlling my anger just reached the office, My colleagues sensed something was wrong and preferred to stay away from angry young man, Silence was kind of unknown thing until i fumed like angry bull. Signal sent Imran ko kuch hua hai!! I could feel that, still gave a blind eye.
I decided to stay off lunch and to not even eat a morcel...
"Imran just come have lunch" said one of my colleague
No yaar i am not hungry will eat later.. felt proud to say that.
Lunch over, me hungry, everyone settled, but i wasn't now i am hungry, searching for some good junk food to fill my stomach i just went out searched the vicinity nothing impressed me so i decided to go to one of the Dosa center nearby, "Dosa nahi hai", said Anna in his south Indian accent.
"Medu vada dedo,"
The outlet was famous for its yummy sambhar and i was still mesmerising the taste while in the backdrop banging of the remote flashed in my mind... i finally ended my Anshan...!!
Aha!! my stomach rejoiced within as i gulped my bottled water. During my starvation period this was my moment of joy and this is for Anna- My Savior.
But one thing i know i would really not forgive EKTA KAPOOR for ruining my day!!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Unfair fairness creams..!!

The day seemed blurry as I started, the result of my half sleep mode. The day seemed promising,long and hard day. It took me great efforts to build pace as I was still thinking on the lines to beat it and go back to the badly needed snooze.
The regular seven minutes walk brought me to the station.The platform was crowded, people hustling down the train, I hurried down to my usual compartment as I had already missed one. The next train was after five mins which I presumed as ten mins because its Indian railways and it’s a regular case of trains running late. The announcement came, the train arriving on platform no. 1 for Virar is running late. I said, Holy shit!! I will be screwed if I don’t reach in time as always I tend to reach office after the reporting time. The train arrived, my habit of standing on footboard made me stand on the corridor, pushing, pulling and finally a woman with a child got pushed and started cursing with chosen abuses at the passengers departing, but that day I creeped inside the train passage and stood below the roof fan which was guzzling out warm air.
I gazed in the compartment as usual and I noticed a boy, he seemed 20-21 years old, brown in color , lean and well dressed, a black coloured bag in hand, tagged along with a friend and was busy gibbering to his friend  and from amidst his animated conversation he removed a tube, pressed its nozzle and the blob of white cream popped in his hand he spread the white cream on his hand and started massaging his face. I suppose it was Fair and Lovely fairness cream.  In front of that boy was a middle-aged woman, talking as softly as she could to her hubby and the chat suddenly came to a standstill and both gave an awry look to the guy they were amazed by this unaccustomed act. And she ensured that she doesn't spill out the beans by laughing her heart out and so did I. 
This little incident made me think how Indian Men are conscious about their dark complexion. When i googled about Fairness cream market in India for Men I came across a huge disbelief -500 Crore Rupees and in South India the market has grown by 35% for men and mere 15% for women. One of the website which is into match-making business had 3 primary questions on the form:
1) Name
I was still coming to terms about this crap and as i scrolled down i came across a research expert who said -
"Parents, bride and grooms don't even reach up to the column on educational qualifications or job if the partner is not fair."
Does that mean a guy pursuing higher studies has zero value if he is dark? A girl is judged mere by her fair complexion?? 

Be it a college goer or a corporate person, none have been left untouched by this grooming fad with a keen desire to look fair. Indian cosmetic companies and marketers have strongly hooked on to this opportunity.
The media has played a major role in pushing men in this direction, as ads promoting fairness creams seek to portray that dark skinned guys lack confidence and are not as successful as the fair-skinned. These ads are pointed needles and penetrates hard in the minds to the Dark complexioned Indian Men.

GROW UP INDIAN MEN... Black Is Beautiful and I really mean it..!!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Did Somebody say....... RAPE..????

According to the Mumbai Police’s records, a total of 219 rape cases were registered in the city last year compared to 192 cases in 2010. The number of rape cases has, in fact, risen steadily over the past three years, with the figure being 178 cases in 2009.
Mumbai saw a 14 per cent jump in rape cases in 2011, further damaging its reputation as a safe city for women. It also saw a 23 per cent hike in the number of cases registered for outraging the modesty of women last year.That meant that women were not safe in the city of Dreams.

Her retro tiny digital wrist-watch showed 12.30am. A wet shopping bag in hand, trying to arrange her messed up wet hair. It was raining cats and dogs; there was an uncomfortable and eerie stillness in the air; all you could hear were the rain drops. It was past midnight; her shift had ended; there was no soul in sight as she waited for her cab. It had been just over a month since Reema started working in the Call center much against her parents’ wishes.
As she waited for her cab; her mind rushed back to outrageous, gruesome, horrific stories she had heard about rapes and murders in this part of the town. She was dripping wet in the rain, and in the fear of the known- unknown! The rain God didn’t show any signs to subside nor the cabbie or city bus was in sight. Ironically the street lamp next to the stop she was waiting in started to flutter. It was right out of the scene of a Mahesh Bhatt horror flick, and  the part just before the arrival of the demon. Of course this was her real life and not a movie for her to close her eyes and pass through the spine-chilling parts of serious night in Mumbai.
The wind grew wilder, thudding sound of the lightning, the raindrops bigger but there was no end to her frightful wait. The cabbie was not picking up her calls and she could not even find an auto to take her back to her office or even to her home. Newly arrived beautiful girl in town hardly knew anyone who could come to her rescue at this uncanny hour. Diverting her mind off the loneliness and still trying to calm down her nerves taking steps as fast as she could, Chaph-Chaph the water splashed as she stepped forward the only creepy sound she could hear were her footsteps.
Reema saw a Qualis approaching her. She froze in fear from the stories of women being forced into such cars and driven around city while being raped. She wished she had listened to her folks and not relocated to take such a job. She cursed her decision as she frantically sought an option to not fall prey to another such incident and become just another statistic in these ever increasing reports of crimes against women.
Running out of options she finally took out the pepper spray and a pointed object. The beam of light came closer and closer, light beam clearly showed raindrops falling on the ground.As the Qualis stopped near her and the glasses rolled down, still avoiding the intervention; she began to hum  Hanuman Chalisa and pointed the pepper spray towards the car window ready for the assault to save her modesty. There it was, moment to give a daring look, the do or die hour for her. As she was about to press on the nozzle, and shout for her life... a lady in a kind voice spoke from within the car. It was her manager! It wasn’t a rapist or a murderer. It was someone who knew her and stopped to offer her a lift home! She heaved a sigh of relief, the feeling of being raped, molested  subsided. As she accepted the lift; She knew she couldn’t ever be gladder to see her manager then that night! It was as if someone above had made sure of her safety. 

Like Reema there are thousands of ambitious women who tremor walking down the streets of Mumbai during late hours.
Does that mean women should not have ambitions just because a species called MEN is out there to rape a decent woman, a women  who is striving to fulfill her dream, The modesty of women is her pride and that should be respected. Mere Figures and statistics counting would not curb crime against women. The city of dreams they say Never Sleeps is actually being defamed by some night predators.
Its time we stand for change..!! Demand A place for safe commuting for women....
Because Not every girl is lucky like Reema!!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Think Out Of Your Tiffin Box!!

           The day starts by supplicating God Khandoba as he knows that the day would be restless, long and even risky as they would cruise down the busy lanes of crowded Mumbai. Meanwhile the better half is ready with bhakri, kaanda and chutni nicely packed,  and wrapped in a tiffin parcelled so that her dear soul mate doesn't stay empty-bellied. 

           Clad in dhoti, Gandhi cap, long mustache and chewing pan with a large tray of steel tiffins is the unassuming dabbawala who is set out to his work with a strong commitment - To serve the hungry office goers. The devotion, timely service and the most important yummy homemade cuisine makes the day a bit comfortable.
          Though outdated modes of transport like the push cart or the large tray full of tiffins, or the tiffin-laden bicycles, this system of delivering lunch tiffins to lakhs of people across the city has been going on since the 19th century, The concept of the dabbawala originated when India and Pakistan were under British Rule. Many British people who came to the colony did not like the local food, so a service was set up to bring lunch to these people in their workplace straight from their homes.

       I would not be describing what makes dabbawalla a punctual rescuer, or how hard they work because all is said and done in the past with records and honors conferred to the dabbawalla community. Here is a take on how a dabbawalla survives the odds and makes the ends meet. 
        Ready to cruise in their comfort savaari- the loyal bicycle awaits as their master hops onto it and starts the hectic day to collect the Dabbas from every nook and corner daring the rough weather collecting bagpacks from loving wife to a caring mother and the supply chain ( the word when asked often gives you bewildered looks) begins. 
    They everyday participate in the obstacle race and then hurry through Mumbai's jerky potholed roads, crowded locals and busy traffic, climbing up and down the tall buildings often getting stuck in the lifts, but they defeat them everyday one by one and the race against time ends as the Dabba reaches the ultimate consumer-Dabbawalla emerges as a winner. 
The feeling of satisfying someones hunger makes dabbawalla larger than life with the 
Mantra "ERROR IS HORROR !!" 

PS:  Each dabbawala, regardless of role, gets paid about two to four thousand rupees per month. In 2002, Forbes Magazine found its reliability to be that of a six sigma standard.More than 175,000 or 200,000lunch boxes get moved every day by an estimated 4,500 to 5,000 dabbawalas, all with an extremely small nominal fee and with utmost punctuality. According to a recent survey, they make less than one mistake in every 6 million deliveries.