Each day, every day flies past us at a hundred miles an hour. It’s a blur of people, colours and noise swept up in a whirlwind. City life. All that everything eventually becomes is a ball of blurred images. Images that flash by us. We’ve gradually become stony, cold and insensitive; past caring about anything but ourselves. That’s what the city does to you. Mechanical robots, if you will, are what we are.
Having been born and brought up in a city like Bombay it isn’t often that one gets to experience the rural life. Or understand the hardships and the daily struggle that majority of the people in this country still go through. Have we then become ‘city snobs’?
In India, Diwali – The Festival of Lights is celebrated every year during the latter months. this is a time when one will find intensive cleaning going on, the smell of traditional sweets wafting from every house and an insane rush in the markets to buy diyas (small lamps made of mud), lanterns and fairy lights. if you venture out into the roads you’ll see heaps of flowers stacked all over, tottering pile of diyas and lights of every colour and kind imaginable lighting up the roads. Throw in crackers in this mix and the tradition of buying new clothes for this occasion and it doesn’t really get any better, does it?
As in every big city, even Bombay has its fair share of slums. It was during a train journey that I had this epiphany of sorts. It was the first day of Diwali and I was returning home by train. There is a stretch where shanties have been built along the train tracks and over the years this has developed into a pretty large community. It was here while the train was passing through that i noticed that even this place which usually was extremely dirty and always had a particular stench around it was relatively clean and stench free. the people living in these shanties had also put up fairy lights, lit diyas and lanterns. It was astounding how pretty the place looked tonight. I won’t lie, it took me my surprise. Caught up in my own life, I’m sure as most other city goers, I didn’t spare a thought about people in these communities.
The world, increasingly becoming a rich man’s place today what with firecracker prices also sky rocketing I guess I assumed that people of the lower-income class wouldn’t celebrate Diwali as others did. Oh, how wrong I was. This just goes to show that everyday we become more and more heartless, insensitive and city snobs. That sight touched my heart. It evoked the somewhat buried humanity in me again, I realized. It may be becoming a rich man’s world but everyone is still managing to survive and find happiness on the way.