Published on October 24th, 20131
Chalta hai, yaar!
What is with this ‘Everything’s okay, let things be’ attitude so prevalent in our Mumbai? A worried Mumbaikar wonders aloud.
by Devashri Prabhu
Earlier in my discussions with my non-Mumbai based friends, I used to always brag about aamchi Mumbai. My sentences used to start like this: “My Mumbai has the best vada pav in the world!”, “Mumbai people are hardworking, simple and down to earth”, etc. Now, my non-Mumbai friends mock me that Mumbai is in recent years becoming famous for its chalta hai attitude.
It hit me hard. But there was some truth to what they said. You will agree if you have encountered any of the following in Mumbai:
1) ‘Doodh mein paani dala hai bhaiyya’
‘Chalta hai, madam‘.
2) ‘Arey uncle, yeh biscuit ka packet aap bech rahe ho, iski expiry date khatm ho chuki hai‘
‘Chalta hai, beti‘.
3) ‘Bhaiyya yeh 20 rupee ki note phati hai’
‘Chalta hai, madam’.
You hear the neighbourhood aunty’s cries; you know she is being beaten up by her husband. You want to intervene and try and help her but another neighbour will stop you, saying- “Yeh toh har jagah chalta hai. It’s okay, you don’t interfere in their matter”. How long have we been dealing with this chalta hai attitude and in how many areas?
Chalta hai here always?
On National Election Day, people prefer to not vote, because chalta hai – it will not make much difference. And after elections, if a complete idiot comes and sits on the political seat, people are free to say they knew it would happen, hence they did not vote. In a Bollywood film, it’s absolutely fine for the hero to constantly stalk, tease and pass comments on the heroine, but the audience says, “Chalta hai, hero yeh nahi karega toh kaun karega?” And then when we see eve-teasing raising its ugly head again and again in our city, we say it’s because of those films and what they show.
What is more surprising is considering this type of behaviour as normal. Why chalta hai? May be because our daily activities take up all our time and such issues take a back seat. Another reason could be that we know somewhere at the back of our minds that we are simply procrastinating on dealing with the issues and finding the answers or maybe, we are just not bothered. We easily forget that these issues are inevitably related to our daily lives.
For instance, if we accept that mixing water in milk is a ‘normal’ thing then the bug called ‘food adulteration’ will slowly spread and ultimately attack our health system. National Election Day is a national holiday not so that we can take a family trip, but because we should go and execute the most important civic right – to vote. If you consider that no candidate suits your eligibility of a good leader, then use the ‘No Vote’ Art 49 O right to effect a negative voting, which was recently upheld by the Supreme Court of India.
No more chalta hai!
We talk at length of our fundamental rights, the facilities that we are entitled to, etc., but we forget what we ought to do as residents of this city. Our indifferent attitude will not help Mumbai in any way. When we implicitly allow the chalta hai attitude in our daily life, we are agreeing to all the wrong doings happening in the city. The chalta hai attitude reflects inaction and passivity which is harmful for the welfare of Mumbai. This inaction has become the hallmark of our city, and it is in reality, the Mumbai Spirit.
Sporadic candle light marches are not going to help. We need to create a flame of change in our hearts. A change that is here to stay. Prepare forums where we can share each other thoughts and the happenings in our city. Use the social network to the fullest for this purpose. Go, sensitise the rickshawwallahs, taxiwallahs, hawkers on issues such as eve teasing. Health education, food adulteration are the issues which need to be taken up with the common man. Take the Government’s help if needed. And last but not the least – people, go vote! A small step does make a big difference. We need to celebrate Mumbai in the real sense and set an example to others ke Mumbai mein sirf Mumbaikar ka raaj chalta hai!
Devashri Prabhu has a Masters in Psychology and her interests lie in areas like Mental Health, Social Issues and Spirituality.
(Pictures courtesy adayinlife.timesofindia.com, www.projecteffexx.com, www.reddit.com)