Have you ever tried asking for directions in any city other than Mumbai??
“Bas yaha se ek ya do kilometer ki doori par hai” (It’s just a kilometer or two away from here)
If you are true Mumbaite, you will find it strange, and you will ask again, “kitna time lagega??” (How much time will it take?)
Ever wonder why every Mumbaite calculates distance in time and not in kilometers or miles?
The clock rules us…every day, hour, minute, second, sometimes millisecond too!! There is no logical correlation of time n distance.
Yes, yes we all know that the city that never sleeps is constantly moving and on the go… and that travelling one kilometer can take a minute to an hour depending on the traffic and weather conditions, I say, mostly for no reason at all. Restless in your car, bus, auto, taxi, n you are thinking of various reasons why the traffic refuses to budge…Must be a morcha, some say, signal breakdown or a messy jam at a junction ahead ‘coz some idiot decided to go in the wrong direction, metro work ahead, maybe a car and cab driver fighting over a small scratch, a wedding procession or even the recent spurt of nakabandis. Some common sights in good ol’ Mumbai…right??
Don’t you feel restless, helpless, fed up, feel like screaming, banging your head etc.? Correct!!
When I look around, I constantly see stress written all over the faces of every Mumbaite…
Some hold an expression of bogged down by loan and credit card payment delays, n some seem to be worried about their appraisal ‘coz his manager dislikes him, despite of the fact that he maybe a performer. Someone has a family property dispute, or is going through a divorce maybe?, or simply missed his or her train, it was too crowded to get on!! Someone’s shoe has broken while walking on a dug up road, or is frowning ‘coz a passing truck blew a big puff of black smoke on his face, or a sleaze ball has just rubbed her and walked by. Some look disgusted, looking at the lazy fat cop sprawled on a chair with an open handkerchief on his knee, and some look like they must have tried to stop at least 6 auto valas and 2 taxis and have been given the cold shoulder. Some look worried looking at strange unknown claimed baggage in the train and some look like a poor little victim of office politics. Some just look simply tired even in the morning…
And yes please add, a constant fear of something going terribly wrong in the city, like blasts, terror attacks, flooding, H1N1 scare(people scurrying around with masks on their faces, buildings falling, transport strikes, riots, Phew! Every single soul is scared, frowning, frustrated, in a hurry or unhappy. Or can I say some simply, Cribbing??!! Either about their lives, the system, transport, government, education, harassment, traffic, pollution, infrastructure, noise, night club raids n deadlines, fake beggars, slums, garbage, theft…Ufff!! And Aaaaargh!!
As your day begins and moves on… did u notice, your building watchman, your local bank teller, your auto vala, slash bus conductor, slash taxi driver, your office boy, the restaurant waiter at your local missal pav joint, the sales exec at the a clothes store, (even the branded ones) have not smiled at you? Oh wait!! Maybe YOU haven’t, at them!? Or even to yourself… Hmmm…
One question. Muskarane ka paisa lagta hai kya??? We are so busy staring at our phones, that we don’t look up at times and smile at that stranger in the elevator.
Just try it, I say, Smile at a complete stranger and he or she might smile back without being least bit suspicious? (Yes thats the sad part about our city) They might not even probably think, “Is something wrong? Do I look funny? Is my fly open? My buttons undone? Is he a pervert? Bhai saab sidha dekho, or simply “What?!”
Keep trying and don’t stop or give up…I have pledged it …It has started to work with me…aamchiMumbai ka dil bahut bada hai…doston!! Spread this infection!
I may not be able to solve the average Mumbaite issues or change the system and blah! But with my dashing smile I can make his day better!! J J
So the next time you see people fighting in the train, crack a PJ n make them stop…tell your office boy“kya mast lag raha hai!” Stuck in traffic? Roll your window down and make a new friend! Play some music out loud, compliment your mobile helpline agent on doing a good job, and don’t hesitate to remove a tenner and give the eunuch at the signal, when they pull your cheeks and say “Kya re chikney!! Aaj Salmaan lag raha hain!!
At least SMILE… PLEASE!! Please apply it on your face!! You know at least one person is waiting right here to… Smile Back! (Psssst…ME!)
A great man once said, “Subah ho gayee mamu!!” and made someone’s day and another greater man didn’t say anything but just made a simple gesture using his thumb and first finger indicating a SMILE!! Ala Barfi re!!
One of — My Simple Pleasures Of Life!!
P.S. Do u remember the song we learnt at school??? Sing Along then…
It isn’t any trouble just to S M I L E…S M I L E…
So smile when your in trouble and it will vanish like a bubble…

- OCOW Diarist – Sonal Gadhvi