STRIFE IN A METRO

Dear Prithviraj Chavan,

Screw you.

I hear you’re the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. I couldn’t care less. What concerns me is that you also head the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.

Now that’s established, screw you again.

Publicity material for the Metro your organisation is helping build claims that someday, I can zip from Versova to Ghatkopar in twenty minutes. Wonderful. A Ghatkopar friend of mine jokes that he will frequently pop over to my place simply because he can.

Until that joyous day, I’d like your still-under-construction Metro to disappear. Here’s why.

You, in your infinite wisdom, have seen fit to block the main road leading to Andheri station. You’re building your infernal project right in the middle of it. This causes kilometre-long traffic jams in the lane-wide diversion you have deigned to provide. Ironically, the Metro is supposedly going to ease our traffic woes.

Getting to the station in the morning is like getting out of Jallianwala Bagh – too many people, just one passage. It’s been two years since you cordoned off my regular road; I’ve died a thousand deaths since.

My daily journey to the station earlier took ten minutes past four bus stops. It now takes me no less than fifty minutes on an already congested route. Sitting in the bus. Checking my watch. Sweating buckets. Fuming.

Share-rickshaws somehow continued to ply on the officially closed route. Last week, you put an end to that. Sure it was illegal. But it was also cheap, comfortable and quick.

It’d take me half the time if I walked. And I would, were I not terrified of falling beams, mosquito-infested potholes and the constant danger of being trampled by the crowd, which braves them, and walks. Should I lose any more weight that way, I’d look even more like the stick I’d like to screw you with.

That Mumbaikars are resilient is a universal truth. We cannot, however, tolerate anything that wastes our time. There are places we have to go and things we have to do. It’s when we cannot that we want to do things to you, in places you never knew existed.

I know you feel the same way. I think that’s the real reason you scrapped the part of the elevated railway between Mahalaxmi and Oval Maidan; nothing must delay you on your way to the Vidhan Sabha, where you are currently absorbed in replacing the word ‘Bombay’ with ‘Mumbai’ in 150 acts of law.

Among other crucial tasks.

You mustn’t overestimate our patience. The first to revolt would be BEST employees – they are sick and tired of spending their workday breathing fumes. Rickshawallahs would follow. That’s when everyone who lives in Andheri would really lose it.

On a late night drive with friends, I was shooed away from the vicinity of your residence for security reasons. For the sake of the security of the Metro, you should either complete it fast, or get it out of our way.

Or else.

* * *

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