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Mumbai's wish list for Santa

Dear Santa,

It’s not easy for us, Mumbaikars, to present you with a concise list as Christmas approaches. After all, we’ve had a pretty rough year, mostly. But ‘tis the season to be jolly, and nice, and so, we’ll try our best to keep our list for your goodie bag visit in a few days’ time, as short as possible. And we hope you’ll oblige us.

1) Less policing: Don’t kiss in public, don’t be gay, don’t party hard — we’re tired as the moral police and their ilk have gone berserk all year drafting rules and regulations that infringe the very foundations of personal freedom and expression.

2) Walk to survive: What we have is as nightmarish equivalent masquerading as a pavement; it might probably be easier to negotiate craters on the Moon. Having to make do with paver blocks, it would really help if Santa (aided with his elves) gives the pedestrian safe, walkable pavements, without fear of twisting an ankle, tripping into an uncovered manhole or being run over by errant bikers.

3) Where’s our monorail? We’ve seen it slide through our elevated corridors in all its shiny, bright, Space Age-like appeal; now, how about speeding things up so Mumbaikars can actually get to board this, and hopefully with that one step, lessen some of our commuter woes?

4) Get back our ‘Safest City’ tag: This one, we’d fight tooth and nail to regain. The city lost the plot, with cases of rape, molestation, incest and assault being reported with sickening regularity throughout the year. What was heartening however was to see the common man rise up in arms to fight back, to save our spaces, our rights and our safety.

5) More culture, please: We’d like to see our deep-pocket business barons and industry czars support the arts in the city. Music, dance, film and literary events in our open spaces, and for free or nominal rates will go a long way in adding more character to Mumbai starved citizens.

6) Seaside stories: Can we have cleaner, safer beaches, more sea-facing promenades that offer terrific avenues for the city’s stressed out public to stretch a leg, and relax after a hard day in the office and on the commute?

It’s tempting to carry on, but we’ll stop at this, to give you some leeway lest our list gives you the jitters.

Sincerely,
The Mumbaiite.

PS: We hope it’s a cheery Christmas and Santa steps in with the good stuff, so every citizen can actually join in as the jolly, fat man from the North Pole shouts out, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”

— The writer is Features Editor, MiD DAY  

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