Mumbai… I Salute Thee!

My brother forwarded this piece to me… Although the facts and figures may not be entirely accurate, it still makes for an interesting read! I am glad am living in Mumbai!!!

inches of rain in new orleans due to hurricane katrina… 18
inches of rain in mumbai (July 27th)…. 37.1
population of new orleans… 484,674
population of mumbai…. 12,622,500
deaths in new orleans within 48 hours of katrina…100
deaths in mumbai within 48hours of rain.. 37.
number of people to be evacuated in new orleans… entire city..wohh
number of people evacuated in mumbai…10,000
Cases of shooting and violence in new orleans…Countless
Cases of shooting and violence in mumbai.. NONE
Time taken for US army to reach new orleans… 48hours
Time taken for Indian army and navy to reach mumbai…12hours
status 48hours later…new orleans is still waiting for relief, army and electricty
status 48hours later..mumbai is back on its feet and is business is as usual
USA…world’s most developed nation
India…third world country..
oopss…did i get the last fact wrong???


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Date: September 3, 2005. Saturday. Time: 5:20 pm.
We are all enjoying our little glass of ganne ka juice outside the St. Thomas Cathedral close to Asiatika. Pooja gets a call from Sagorika saying “Gayathri’s cell is with me and my train for Pune is leaving CST in 10 minutes!” Pooja has no option to tell Sagorika to keep the cell with her and return it on Monday.
Suddenly something inside this little 5 foot 6 inches tall (read short) thin body told me that I can reach CST before the train leaves. I quickly finishes off my ganne ka juice and starts my little marathon dash (with my trademark executive bag on my shoulder) towards the Pune bound train!
Enroute my sprint I ask someone if I am heading in the right direction. After his affirmative reply, I decide to increase my pace.
I then bang into a taxi driver and ask him if he would be able to reach me to the station in 5 minutes. This time however, the answer is in the negative! And I come to the realization i have wasted a full 10 seconds on the taxi driver. I decide to continue my sprint to what seemed like unrealistic optimism! On the run, I look upto the heavens and say a sentence “Lord, help me not to get disappointed after this”.
My phone rings… Bijoy!!! “Ha bol!”
“Where are you?” BJ asks. “On…on…my….way,” I reply.
“Taxi mila?” “Nahi…but….I think..I’ll reach.”
“Ok, Sagorika is on the 1st compartment and her train is in platform 9.” “Ok, Th..Thanks!” I end the call puffing!
A minute more into the sprint I see a man with a bloody face accompanied by two other men! I wonder whats going on? But I have no second to waste to stand and ponder over it and therefore, continues running, pushing and making my way through a flood of people on their way to the station heading home after a tough and tiring day at work. “Excuse me… Thank you….sorry” were the being played from my mouth constantly like a tape!
As I begin to approach the end of a lane I can barely see the CST buliding which inspires me to keep pushing harder. I cross the road not caring if the signal is green or red! Now I can see the green board with “Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus”.
As I get closer to the ticket counter, I get another call from Gayathri’s cell!
“Blessen, where are you?” the voice asks. “Reaching….VT….Reaching VT,” breathless but still running.
“Ok. We are in the first compartment.” “Ok,” I hang up.
I reach the long distance trains’ station and already the announcement about the Pune bound (which was actually a Kolhapur bound train going via Pune) about to leave can be heard! I can see the guard about the wave the green flag in his hand! I reach platform 9 and scans through the first compartment. Sagorika is nowhere in sight! Could it be that they are in the first compartment closest to the Engine. I continue my little sprint towards the engine when out of nowhere I hear a loud voice “BLESSEN!!!” from my back. I turn around… Did I just see Medha- our CR? One more glance and now I cant see anyone out there! Is my tired mind playing tricks with me I wonder!!! After about a second or two, I see two familiar faces appear on the door of that “first” compartment! Yes!!! It is Sagorika and it was Medha that I saw about two seconds back. I walk back to them and they hand the me the blue colured Nokia hand set with the screen saver ‘WHO CARES?’
“You ran all the way?” Sagorika asks with a surprised look on her face! … I just nod unable to get the words out between my two sets of sixteen!
“See you were destined to see us through” says Medha with a little smile on her face. I continue nodding panting like a dog, bending down to rest my hands on my knees!
“Now take some rest” Medha continues. I gasp for air nodding in agreement!
About 5 seconds later, the engine blows, the whistle goes and the blue metallic structure in front of me starts moving!
I wave my hand to the travellers with a sweet taste of victory! I look up to the sky to thank the FORCE that carried me this far! I begin my ‘longer walk’ back to Asiatika to tell a victorious tale to my friends waiting there!!!

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