Mumbai …a city of rapes!? No ways! Mumbai is a city of dreams, and not nightmares!! Whether you are a local or a migrant, everyone has or comes here with their “sapna”. We go about waking up early and getting to our schools, colleges, offices like there is no tomorrow with our own bag of ‘happys and sads’, personal and of the city!
Such as…Bad roads n potholes, cost of veggies and medicines, office politics n maid absenteeism, traffic jams n water cuts, dull and expensive party scenes (and places shut early too! Sigh!),loans to pay, getting that film break, et al!
But when you live in a unique city like this, despite its clichéd names …”the city that never sleeps”, and “spirit of Mumbai” …how it “bounces back from a calamity”…”fast pace of life”…”the city that never stops”… “City of dreams” …its always written and spoken about as all part of the whole Bombay experience! (oh ya and of course…commercial capital and highest tax paying city of the country!)
And on top of that, if you are one half of the sex, a Mumbai gal, then life can be really good here. You just need to get your path straight and “aaalll eeej welll”
So who is this Mumbai girl?? And if one asks her, she replies…
I am free!
I am educated but I am also street smart!
I work hard and party harder (well not so hard thanks to Mr. Dhoble!)
I can talk like a bhai and also like Simi Grewal (it’s too early to say Anupama Chopra yet?!)
I wear sarees , salwaar kameez and jeans n skirts, when I want to! And where. But I know what to wear, where to wear!
I know my brands well but can bargain at Fashion Street n like how!!
I help a blind person cross the street, fight for a cause, sponsor a child’s education, work for an NGO or sometimes even light a candle at Gateway!
I know how to stay safe physically and digitally!
I donate blood regularly!
I am a free bird yet I am protected by my father, my brother, my male friends…et al!
I pray for everyone and visit Siddhivinayak temple in Prabhadevi, Haji Ali darga in Worli, Mahim Church and Gurudwara in Four bungalows.
I am a clerk in Mantralaya and even a CEO of a large corporate!
I make your daily soap a hit with my teary eyed lines, dance on item numbers, and win national awards for “arty”performances too!
I style models and fashionistas but I also stitch saree blouses for a livin!
I write gossip columns in regional magazines and I can also make globally acclaimed “intelligent” films
I lend my voice to famous celebs but I am also the one who sings loud besura bhajans in your local ganpati mandal
I can talk confidently in a conference room full of men and can even sell you a lipstick over the counter!
I gossip at kitty parties and can yap loudly on my cell phone in the bus!
I am at your beck n call for your last minute facial and also own my own chain of spas!!
I cook and clean and take care of my home, my husband and kids and cook and clean your house too!
I know how to order dishes with strange names and cuisines and also jump with joy at the sight of my local bhel puri wala
I can talk in “tuta phuta” Hindi while giving directions to my taxi vala and snap at people when they litter and say “Kya karta hai”
I airkiss at parties but boy can I swear…you know mother sister types!
I am comfortable in both… high heels and rubber chappals!
I cheer my ass off in Wankhede when Sachin comes out to bat!
I take international calls with an firangi accent for a living in the middle of the night but I can also annoy you on a Sunday afternoon trying to sell you a“kedit card” and “purrrssonal lon”
I check your bag at the airport and the mall but I also have the power to arrest people!
I wash n wear the same uniform everyday to my “school on wheels” every day and I also have chauffeur driven BMW at my mercy to my school and art n dance classes!
I watch Saas bahu soaps, laugh loudly at hindi comedy stand ups!
I know all the Friends episodes by heart and love to watch documentary on global warming or stock market reviews!
I am soon gonna sell u tickets in the big red city bus!
I nurse sick people and change their dirty linen, swap hospital floors and can even conduct major open heart surgeries!
Hell, I can even fly a plane!
But when I am a photo journalist at work in an old heritage location with my male colleague, I get raped?!!
If you ask her about her fears…she laughs and replies …
My usual but normal daily little fears of living in Mumbai “were”…
When I step out of my house in Mumbai… I am afraid but I know what to do!
I am afraid of the auto/taxi vala fleecing me with rigged meters but I know how to set him straight!
I know how to snap at boy leering at me at the bus stop and when to shutup!
I can even handle the loud hoots from the gents compartment from the passing train…Tch! Duh! By ignoring them!
I know not to walk down the street on a festival day as truck loads of people throng the city roads, I know I will be commented on but I am smart enough to stay home!
If there is some terrorist or flood report on my phone, I know how to verify if the news are correct, my loved ones are safe, whether I can help someone nearby and to stay put where I am!
I have all my emergency nos saved on speed dial and have also downloaded the smart safety apps!
I know to travel safely at all times, day and night, when to stay away from deserted n when to avoid overcrowded streets, note the taxi no. for a friend or hire a cab for women
I even know to travel in the gent’s compartment if the ladies’ is empty!!!
Or simple… if its late ask a male friend to drop me or simply spend the nite at my girlfriend’s!
I even know not to use the viper on my car, if someone chucks eggs on my windshield!!
I know when to clutch my bag close to me and am “beware of pickpockets and chain snatchers!”
For God’s sake I don’t even wear white when it rains!!
The blasts, the floods, the firing, the eve teasing, I have enough on my plate and am trying every day to put it behind me but how does one tackle gang rape?!!
Sometimes I feel lost
Sometimes I feel very very angry
Sometimes I feel let down
And now I am scared too!
But, nothing can stop me!
- By Mumbai Girl
P.S. Main MERA Hero