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Salaam Mumbai
Sep 02, 2005 11:14 AM 3114 Views
(Updated Sep 02, 2005 11:14 AM)

This morning I  was watching the BBC coverage  of Cyclone Katrina that struck the US coast a couple of days back  .  They were talking about the large scale destruction that had taken place there . There was a clip of a woman crying, asking the US president to send help since there was large scale looting going on everywhere . As I sat shocked watching her, she added that'They're raping women and babies, it's chaos everywhere, please help us' .   The report further showed that US army was being brought in to maintain law & order .


My thoughts went back to just over a few days back, when Mumbai was neck deep in water, in circumstances' almost similar' to New Orleans and the difference in peoples attitudes. Over the past 28 years since I was born here, I have heard countless people calling Mumbai  bad names,  'cruel', 'heartless', 'city without a soul' and cringed each time I heard this . I did not have any defence each time I heard people say such things. I would just bite my lips, and manage a wry smile .  Today  I HAVE SOMETHING TO DEFEND MY CITY .


Nowhere & I repeat'NOWHERE' did we see or hear of such incidents of rape or large scale looting & rioting going on  in Mumbai  as seen in New orleans throughout the weeks following the deluge of 26th  . On the contrary, so many of us have been on the receiving end of kindnesses from random strangers who went out of the way to help their fellowmen . We have seen and heard of people handing out water and fresh cooked food to travellers trudging for hours together to their homes, we have heard  & seen  neighbours risking their lives  and their homes for us, we have heard of stranded school children being carried to safety  by people they had never seen before in their lives and in all probablity will  see ever again   .


We talk about US being a first world country, they have a higher per capita income, the people are more educated, they have a better standard of life etc etc . But when it comes down the basics of life . what happened? When there was no one to control and monitor them, what happened?  They had to call their army to maintain law & order, the Times of India reported that crime actually went down in Mumbai during that one week after the deluge  .  I am not trying to trivialise the issue here, both cities faced a tragedy, maybe New Orleans had to face a much much bigger tragedy than we had to  .and I sympathise with that .


Also, I know that all the bad things that people say about  Mumbai might still be true . I'm just happy that .THERE'S HOPE FOR MUMBAI . the Spirit of Mumbai  still lives . and it'does' have a soul


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