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A Helping Hand

*This was a post I had done a while back and that I found saved in my drafts. Thought I'd put it up cause I believe in this and I would love to know other viewpoints.*

I was in the bus home today and I saw a man pay for the ticket of another man who didn't have enough money to get to where ever he wanted to go and I thought of the Reader's Digest survey that judged Bombay as the rudest city in the world.

The fine people at Reader's Digest came to this decision based on criterias like how many of them helped doors open for people behind them, where they helped somebody whose papers fell on the road and whether retail shoppers were thanked. New York came in first with a score of 80% and Mumbai last with 32%.

But I think there's much much more to Mumbai than just these three categories. People all over the world are rude. New York which came out first is universally known as one of the rudest, pushiest cities. And to decide how rude a city is with such a limited set of specifications is extremely narrow minded.

The people who feel that Mumbai is rude definitely need to travel by local train and bus. Manners are in those people who get up and offer their seat to a women with a baby. To the people who will offer to take you to an address you cant find. Who if they see a child lost in the train will take time out and make an effort to contact his parents and also buy him an ice cream to get him to stop crying. In the hands that reach out to you when your running for the train without caring whether your Hindu or Muslim, rich or poor, Charni Road or Chinchpokli, Grant Road or Goregoan. And that's where I think the beauty of Mumbai lies. In the little things.

I was in the bus home the other day. Remember? My Worst Day Ever? So anyway I thought I heard something fall when I got up to alight from the bus and after checking my pockets realised that my cellphone wasn't in it and began frantically searching beneath seats for my phone. Around 3-4 people in the bus actually got up and helped me to look for it. Reaching hands out under seats, clambering up and down. It's another matter that upon dialing my number, my bag began vibrating and I realised my phone was in the bag. But anyway, I was so so touched. Nobody in the bus had to do that. They could have just as well not helped me. They could have just sat there and let me look around like a crazy person. But they didn't.

And that is why I love Mumbai. Isn't it unfair to generalise and say that people don't help in Mumbai alone. Isn't that everywhere in the world? There are rude people and nice people. The good, the bad and the ugly. And if anybody ever tells me that New York City has only wonderfully well-mannered people living there, I'll probably laugh in their faces. Just as I did, when I read that Mumbai's the rudest city in the world.

Also, I have absolutely nothing against Reader's Digest. I love Reader's Digest. I think it's one of the best publications ever. Well written, concise and has something to appeal to everyone. I would love love love to work there. But still, this has to be one of their inanest ideas ever. And I'm very very glad that Mumbaikars protested strongly against this.

Perhaps next time, a little more thought would be in order.


Moo said…
Couldn't have worded it better, my friend! You truly write beautifully... :)

P.S. Blogger's making me type 'pjymc' for word verification.


Homecooked said…
Ah...what a lovely post.Now I miss Bombay more than ever :( Its true that you'll always find a helping hand when you need one.But you know when I first came here I was really surprised and impressed when people used to hold the doors open for you and smile and greet you when you walk in the park.Kind of a small town feel.But nothing beats the large heartedness of Bombay.Thanks for the post.

On a side note...was the cell phone thing the only reason your day was so bad.Hope things are allright now.
Gentle Whispers said…
@ Moo : Thank you so much. I'm very touched.

@ Homecooked : I know what you mean i love Bombay ever so much. I find it quite hard to imagine living somewhere else.

Also, the cellphone issue was one in a long line of things. The proverbial straw on the camel's bag. Things are fine now. They were just bad for that one day.

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