Pagoda

 

Holiday Season and you suddenly have every one running helter-skelter trying to find a destination away from home, for a change.. Change could mean going back to one’s home town, or if you are lucky, one takes a unknown destination in another country…
Going through the same thoughts with so many options being provided, it was literally a choice as to where one should go.. Too Hot, too Humid, too crowded, too expensive the combinations never to one’s satisfaction.. Finally, the visit to go back home won over, and it was home sweet home. Mumbai or Bombay (as the purists still call it)
A visit to Bombay is always full of life, no matter how often you go, or how rare you go. The city seems more busier than the last time you visited, which could be as less as 20 days ago or as long as 10 years ago. My last visit in 2012 proved no less interesting and the 2013 equally so.
People come from and go to now where. Auto’s whizz around swerving left and right, with people not having to move, and they miss you by a whisker. Scooties, Motor bikes, all zipping in and out and the noise decibel hitting the highs every day / week / year.. Every one is in a hurry to reach some where, every one is busy swearing, you miss a train, you swear, you get pushed, you swear, you slip on the road, you swear, you do not get a cab or an auto for more than two minutes, you swear, you walk on the road trying to avoid the cars, you swear.. Basically, you swear. I incidentally swore more in the first hour of landing in Bombay, than I did in the time frame between my two visits which was roughly a year.
But there is a good side too to Bombay. There are people who will stop to help you, no matter how busy they are, there are people who still talk nicely and give you respect, there are also people who are suddenly flabbergasted when you speak to them with respect. But then, my thought..
Gateway of India
As part of the vacation, had the opportunity to go see a few places in Bombay, that had not been to for years. Gateway of India, Hanging Gardens, the National Park and so on… What was heartening and disheartening at the same time was the state that many of our monuments and tourist spots are landing up into. Some beautifully managed like the Hanging Gardens, some spots filled with hawkers who outnumber the visitors to the spots. Similar experience in most of the places that one visited, taking the full fun out of a visit.
What was also disappointing was that in many places due to the various unsavoury incidents that the city has had to undergo, one finds spots filled with security personnel, who no doubt are there to take care of the place, but also, become a dampener for a visitor who would like to move freely to see the place. A decade ago, places were more accessible, one enjoyed a visit to any place that one went to, however as society grows and as time passes, one sees more and more restrictions that are imposed not due to any thing but due to security concerns which very well lead to the locking out of various places.
As I saw these different places over my stay, could not but help wonder.. We being law abiding citizens of our country live like prisoners at times, where in we do not have the freedom to move / do as we please. Not that one looks for absolute freedom, however many a time one sees even our basic rights curbed. Most of the time due to the negligent proportion of society that does not wish to follow norms of decency, respect for our culture and our heritage.
There could be anger no doubt for a variety of reasons, but taking this out in the form of violence is always a loss for the average citizen, who simply would like to live his life in peace. Unfortunately, we are heading far away from that dream, and with every man being for himself, would it be long before society itself reaches a point that it can only live in a controlled environment.
Whether that would be manageable or not is another question.
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