Thursday, July 20, 2006
Strike when the city is hot............
We, in the city of Mumbai, are uniquely blessed.
This must be the only city in the world, where the government plays a leading part in building up the character and guts of the people. Reminds me of stories where children are made to do obstacle races , and folks in the armed forces do tough boot camps , all in the name of "toughening up". Ever since womens issues have been highlighted the world over, we must be the only country, where hardship training for women is conducted, perennially, thanks to the various transport systems.
We have a unique city layout, long and mean. The folks who end up working the hardest often end up staying furthest away from their workplaces. Some of them take several modes of transport to work. The government doesnt want any of them to miss out on the character and physique building. So roads are dug up, year after year, by specialised diggers, so that those taking buses home can learn the fine art of balance and gender issues. An additional bonus, is that this throws the bus timetable out of gear, and they get crowded abnormally. Not to worry. They always wanted to give combat training to the women. This way they dont have to spend any extra time on it. A high level study trip to Israel showed some other methods, but we prefer these.
Just in case buses are NOT your cup of tea, we have trains with windows , where you get to practice the fine art of dodging stuff targeted by those indulging in target practice from outside; except this is a target moving at high speed. . Good for neck mobility. You will never get spondilytis, thanks to all those thoughtful netas who encourage people to live defiantly by the tracks. No parks near your house ? Why worry ? Fighting your way through a railway compartment to get out at a station, and running down railway bridges with worn out slippery steps, all to catch the train that will start moving in 5 seconds, will give you a new high, mentally as well as physically. Whats a little fracture here and there ?
Globalisation is here. It means less local stuff, and more global stuff. Designating a sister city to Mumbai is important stuff. High level types need to go study sewage treatment in, say, Venice. Its all that water flowing around, you see. They have gondolas. We have navy boats in Kalina . Inspiring , na ?
In the meanwhile, even nature conspires to help out the authorities. Year after year, the rains comes crashing down. Of course the authorities have washed their hands off all that high tides-and-floods stuff. Like the Tennyson chap said, tides may come and tides may go, but WE go on forever. People must learn . Its all part of the hardship education. Manhole covers , designed to be detachable, are a brilliant choice for introducing a surprise element in this water hardship training. All this water panic also ensures that the police on duty are unable to go home, simply as they cannot travel . Built in vigilance training. Wah ! , Someone who got stuck on 26/7 in 2005, decided to learn swimming and paid a thousand rupees to learn. If only she had waited till this year. She could have learned it in a very natural manner, while travelling to work and back, for FREE..
Actually, the government must be applauded for even thinking of students. It ensures that despite the age of IT, students get to practice hardship, thanks to hanging websites, changing timetables, late result declarations, and a general cattle herding, fee grabbing approach to new admissions. Your child in school ? He needs to carry a few more books to streghthen his spine, so they have now introduced more tests. Dont want spineless youth, do we ?
If those up there, point the way, can others be far behind?
So we have government agencies, like nationalised banks and incometax office people climbing on to the hardship training bandwagon. They take care of the mental toughening of the people of Mumbai.
So just when people are still reeling from grevious losses, personal, monetary, and otherwise, the IT folks did their bit. First they had ads where they said, file your tax or we will catch you . (Its all designed to shake up those of us, who thought we could gradually deal with the recent catstrophe and then deal with the IT deadline of July 31. ) The IT wallas will Strike, not attend office, as they are unhappy about some rules , which were probably made long ago.
They have now inspired our Banks, also to declare a strike. A token one day strike , that incidentally happens to append to a weekend. But the timing is a class act in introducing a new hardship concept for people. Your salary comes, but you dont get to use it. And never mind the days lost working because of the floods, the blasts, the injuries. Its so important that retiring bank employees get the correct pension scheme. everything else can wait.
Its called 'Striking when the City is Hot".
strike : v. m : to hit .
hot : adj m: angry