It’s deep seated. It lies dormant and suddenly uncoils with no warning. You can meditate, you can migrate, but, fellow Bombayite, nothing can protect you from the anger that has crept into your DNA and you’re just powerless to channel or circumvent it. Tell me I’m wrong? The latent rage that overhangs the city is more overwhelming than the descending smog.
Laughter and a laidback attitude have morphed into loathing and lividness. Red turns to green at a traffic signal. Like an orchestra seriously out of sync, a cacophony of horns and a cauldron of hate spews forth, tiny sparks producing major explosions, this is a battlefield far worse than tepid road rage, deep down resentments manifesting themselves. We’ve lost calm ness in the pot pourri of urbanmania. ‘Love your fellow man,’ seems to have receded into lynch him at the slightest provocation. When did that chill pill get replaced by sulphuric acid?
The point is we’re pissed off. We’re enraged with the Centre, the corporators, the cops, the Chief Minister, the churlish politicians who are sending the country to its doom. We’ve been relegated to step-citizenship. And we have nowhere to displace this growing frustration, this fury building up within us, while platitudes are voiced instead of Real Politik. And what is our punching bag, our venting machine, our release for this parliamentary callousness?
We should actually take to the streets, in protest…but we don’t have a Taksin Square or Tahrir Square to congregate. We don’t have just one corrupt Mubarak, Erdogan, or Gaddafi to unite against. Or a visionary leader to rally behind. So our bullets get dissipated. Sadly with an enemy that is unreachable, we’re turning on each other.
We look to the General Elections 2014 with a sense of cynical foreboding. One wannabe PM’s soundbytes are rubbish. The other rants eloquent. And the present one says nothing while our country burns. This is supposed to instill confidence in us. We’re witnessing this charade of governance like mannequins in a shop window. And closer home we’re seeing our thuggish leaders either scamming, Swiss banking our money or scheming to turn one religion against another.
So one set of goons take to the streets on Ganapati and another set of rogues roam the bylanes on Ramzan, ready for battle. We’re watching anarchy become the new mode of self-expression. So, what are we doing in response? We’re silently imploding. I fear for us. We’ve been a benign people, like forever. And we’re soon going to go seriously ballistic. Ideally, the city should see a psychiatrist. But how does Mumbai plop down on one couch and collectively vent.
I have to confess that I’m terrified that we’re not too far away from breaking point. I have no words of wisdom or a wisecrack to break the tension. I just follow one basic principle I say forget the Centre, just centre yourself.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com. The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.