Why Pritish Nandy was right to hate Mumbai


This was originally meant as a comment on this blog post by Arshat Chaudhary on “The TimePASS of India“, which itself was a response to Pritish Nandy’s piece in The Times Of India. If you have not read the TimePass of India… I suggest you go read it. Most, especially the older posts, are hilarious.

Hi Arshat

Usually, I love your writing. But this one pained me.

I have lived in 8 cities so far, and I am moving to my 9th in less than 2 weeks. So I do have some experience with different societies and urban culture. And more importantly, I do not have a soft corner for any of them (except maybe Jakarta, where awesome food is very cheap 🙂 )

Also, I don’t give a shit about Pritish Nandy. But I do agree with that post of his behemently.

Here are the points I would like you to consider:

The legal drinking age now has become 25. (source)

Because some people have decided that while you are responsible enough to marry and bring forth your spawn by the time you are 18, you are not to be trusted with a rum and coke until your kids are in middle school. What gave them that right? Why have we given them that right?

Do you really think the license to drink is a good measure? Do you have a license? Have you tried to get one? Why is there a separate license anyways? Why couldnt a driving license be enough? Who gains by increasing bureaucracy? Do we, the people who supposedly participate in the greatest democracy ever, gain? Or are we being systematically looted, with provisions being built in to control every aspect of our lives? And give other asinine people more control over our lives, more strings to pull us by, more tunes to make us dance with?

Strip clubs and dance bars
I would keep them open. I would vote for them to be open. This is not because I would enjoy them myself (I know the trolls must have not even reached this sentence…), but because I believe that whoever works in those professions and establishments, those people AND ONLY THOSE people have a right to decide on THEIR livelihoods. WHY DO WE BELIEVE WE ARE BETTER THAN THEM, just because we are in a cubicle or a chair, and they are on a pole or a stage? What gave us, as a society, that right to judge?

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

– Evelyn Beatrice Hall.

I’d only modify that amazing thought like this: “I disapprove of what you do, but I will defend your right to do it, as long as you are not causing anybody else any harm, mental or physical, and they have a choice to participate or leave at any point of time.”

11 pm deadline for restaurants
Again, why do we assume that we have the right to decide what chefs want (to follow your line of thought) is sleep? Have you any chef friends? Do they all covet the bed so much? Why not let free market forces decide? Let it be open for all. If there are enough chefs who would sacrifice their sleep, work harder than the rest who are sleeping, and earn some extra cash / fame / fortune, WHO ARE WE to deny them that opportunity?

Do you honestly believe that law is for the chefs’ benefit? Or do you think it is another string in our puppeteer’s hands, to pull and make us dance and shake for cash and power whenever desired?

Ministers get preferential treatment
You confused being treated as an equal (and standing in line) with being treated as a suspect (and being frisked). I respect you too much to believe it was intentional.

(I don’t give a shit about SRK being frisked. But APJ being frisked was disgraceful and insulting.)

In general, I am all for humans being treated equally, regardless of profession, or standing in life.
I remember reading somewhere about Bill Clinton standing in line for a doughnut. WHEN HE WAS PRESIDENT. PR stunt? Most probably. But does it show their culture’s values? Absolutely. What do our ministers say about us?

Sex before 18
If two consenting people are indulging in sex, then by all means, enjoy!

Also, why 18? Who fixed that arbitrary number, which decides that one day you are suddenly old and mature enough to partake in sex? If you are 17 years and 364 days, are you really that colossally different from when you are 18?

Stuff you missed (entertainment in general)
Why can’t Mumbai have concerts beyond 10? It disturbs others, of course. What if it were in a sound proof room? Is that even an option? Can 18+ year old adults decide for themselves what kind of life they would like to have? Please?

Did you know that my favourite memories of Mumbai are at the Bhurji Pav wala in Parla, and of Bade Miyan in Colaba? Did you know that both got shut down / beaten up in the last few months? By Dhoble, who was implementing archaic laws? (I actually do not have anything against Dhoble; he’s just doing his job. It is the laws that I am against, and the mentality that having such laws is absolutely fine!)

I have nothing against paying taxes, and have no problem paying them with a smile on my face. But when my money is used to fill the coffers of party chamchas up and down the supply chain, I do sit up and take notice.

NREGA is a colossal waste of our money. Not only it is an extremely leaky bucket, with hardly a trickle reaching the intended section of society, it is fundamentally flawed as a concept.

If you want to create infrastructure projects, use proper equipment. If required, train these people for a month, and see them move mountains (literally).

But generating employment is your end goal, don’t give them spades to dig the earth. Give them all spoons instead.

Hindu Muslim thing
How does banning any art work, whether it is Hussain’s paintings or Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, help the Hindu-Muslim “thing”? Are we as a society really that intolerant?

Oh wait, we are.

All we do is silence people who are different than us, who want different things than us, who have a different take on things, who have a different vision, a different eye.

And how do we solve this problem? Why, bring in more laws of course!

I was really amazed in Indonesia, a country with a Muslim majority, to see a 40 foot statue of Krishna commanding Arjuna’s chariot, outside their national monument. I was even more surprised that their is a huge statue of Garuda in Bali too, outside the airport.

But nothing prepared me for the day when a Muslim guy walked up to me during lunch, and started discussing Mahabharata and Ramayana with me. He knew more about minute details (Nakul and Sahadeva’s stories, which I have not even seen on the TV version, forget the grandma / Amar Chitra Katha version). Apparently, they are all (yes, even the muslims) taught all religious philosophies.

Cribbing about cop who interrupted your party
Coke at his party? Assumption.

They have disappeared. And where they have not, they are hardly used. Almost no green cover in 99% of the city. No birds too.

And just because one area of the city (technically, a suburb, though I don’t care) is green and has a bird sanctuary, it does not justify not having trees in the rest 99% of the city. Powai is the exception that proves the rule.

Hanging on to dear life every day, sweating, being forced to walk 22kms because of rains
You enjoyed all of those? I guess sadism is indeed a natural part of a human psyche.

You can leave at 3 in the night and not be mugged.
But you can step out for a dinner with friends, and have your friends molested, and then get into a fight, and then stabbed to death along with your friend who tried to help you.
Oh wait, I forgot to mention… a 100 other bystanders would see you being stabbed. But nobody would be able to identify the murderer. All were blind(ed?), you see.

Just because Mumbai is better than Delhi, is not a reason to be proud of it. Better than shit is still shit.

Traffic police will let you off if you can speak Marathi
WHAT THE FUCK? How does this even make it to your post? THAT is supposed to be a reason why you love Mumbai? I would be ashamed to be in a city like that!
Police, I believe should be like those in Singapore (absolutely invisible), or Bangalore (super duper fair). Even if I was a Marathi, I would rather have a fair and just society, than one that favours me!

Mumbai is better than Delhi? Yes.
Mumbai is safer than other shitty places in India? Yes.

But does Mumbai have serious problems? Yes.
And does Mumbai have freedom? No.

By ignoring / glossing over the problems that we have, we are as guilty as the people who are actually causing the problems. I hope you see my POV.