Every so often, all over the world, Mother Nature sends us humbling reminders about the fragility of our existence, the miniscule presence we occupy on the face of the earth, but more importantly, leaves us wondering if we have learnt from the lessons of the past, enough to be prepared to better handle and manage similar re-occurrences. Yes, I’m talking about the devastating floods that engulfed most of Mumbai a few days ago, resulting in grave losses of land, livelihood and lives.
Most of us were fortunate to have escaped unhurt and unaffected and we are grateful for that. Our hearts and prayers go out to all who weren’t as lucky. Yet again, the phrase ‘The Spirit Of Mumbai’ was used ad nauseum, blaring from every television channel and seen in most celebrity tweets who were unwilling to left out of this great social media opportunity. As is always the case, in all calamities, the everyday Mumbaikars did go all out and help as many of their fellow citizens stranded on the streets – drenched to their bones, and terrified as they waded through ankle-deep, knee-deep and chest-deep floods. The Traffic Police deserves more than a special mention.
Yes, this ‘Spirit of Mumbai’, symbolised by the helpful Mumbaikar, has always come through for Mumbai. The same can’t be said about the authorities elected by the Mumbaikar to take care of the city. Instead of owning up to their incompetence and apologising for this blunder of horrific proportions, the elected representatives seemed way more interested trying to cover up their failures on national TV by playing the blame-game, screaming about how they were ‘doing a good rescue and recovery job’… at one point it went surreal when they actually blamed the rain! And when cornered, they chanted ‘Spirit Of Mumbai’ as their all-time excuse!
Our politicians never learn, do they? In 2005, Mumbai witnessed the worst ever flood-disaster which had claimed the lives of over a thousand people. Over a decade later, the life of the Mumbaikar is as much at risk, and as dispensable. We become important only during the elections. Maybe it would be a good idea to hold these extremely intrusive political campaigns during the monsoons – it would be redeeming to see these ‘care-takers of Mumbai’ drenched and scrambling for a change, no? The ‘Spirit of Mumbai’ should be renamed the ‘Ghost of Municipal Failure’, when spewed as an excuse from the mouths of these inept ‘karmacharis’. The next few days is set to witness heavy rainfall too – please stay safe, especially in keeping with the Ganesh Visarjans.
Moving on, September 5th next week marks Teacher’s Day. No amount of words can begin to thank or express the incomparable importance of teachers in our lives, and the difference they make on multiple levels to an individual, a family, society, the nation and humanity itself. It is said that the dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called ‘truth’. Having a good teacher in your life is a blessing. To strike an analogy, Rudyard Kipling said, “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers”… it would be no lesser true to add, “God could not enlighten everyone, and therefore he made teachers!” Here’s wishing all our lovely teachers a Happy Teacher’s Day, with every heartfelt gratitude.
Have a safe weekend!