I live in a bubble –
High-rise buildings, chauffeur driven cars
Paved side-walks, gardens with flowers
Fine dining restaurants, free home- delivery
Twenty four hour water supply and uniformed security
The intercom rings, a fourth time in the day
‘Its Amazon Ma’am. Shall we send them up?’ they say
I pick the papers
Lying on the marbled floor
And the farm-fresh milk left at my door
I watch the morning showers, sipping my ginger-lemon tea
Sweetened with a dash of Himalayan honey
The rain breeze blows; touching me on the back
Of my neck and I think, ‘This city is perfect’
I flip the pages-
Building collapses in Dongri – 13 dead!
Two lady doctors travelling by train hurt
By a overhead wire that fell on their head!
Stone pelting at the station, there’s a spurt
Another child falls down open drain
The reason being the much awaited rain!
for lives lost and government apathy
Rapes, lynching, just another story
Rising anger and disdain
‘Not this, not this and not this again!’
And I shut it out, close the papers
For I live in a bubble… my anger simmers
I received this prompt – ‘Not this, not this and not this again.’ It came at a time, when repeated news of buildings, bridges and walls collapsing fill the papers and are talked off with great sadness but no conclusions or solutions. This is the other side of Mumbai city – the city that I’ve come to love in the one year that I have stayed here. And its’ not pretty. Its’ depressingly sad that with so much wealth in this city, lives are lost due to these avoidable reasons that are purely the responsibility of the city authorities and the government.
I’m all for what John F. Kennedy said, ‘ Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country,’
But I also believe in Benjamin Franklin’s words, ‘ As a citizen, it is your responsibility to question authority.’
This is not the first or second time that lives are lost because of old, dilapidated buildings and bridges collapsing. It happens all the time here. It makes headlines, is the subject of talk-shows and everybody expresses remorse and then everybody moves on. Until it happens again and then we are reminded of the previous incident and the one before it as a matter of general knowledge or a topic of discussion.
We talk about it once more and then forget while new lives are lost – of infants, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters to the callous attitude of those in power because this is just a very negligible percentage of the billion that make up the country.
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