I’m 17 years-old, a total Mumbai girl, born and bred. Papa says in the ’80s, the city used to be awesome, totally free-spirited. Women could take cabs alone at 4 am, no tension. I agree it’s an awesome city, but free-spirited? No chance.
Two weeks ago, 19 of our Indian states experienced total blackout. Mumbaiites said, “Arre, thank God for Mumbai yaar, we will never have power cuts.” I say what’s the point of a city that has electricity but has regressed to the Dark Ages? Believe me, as a young woman, at the moment, our city sucks. Not corruption or civic breakdown. I’m talking about the attitude of men and the moral system.
You remember a few years ago, there was that whole Valentine’s Day tension — political parties smashing up card stores. Crazy, like a greeting card fosters Westernisation, which creates passion and desire in young people, or some such rubbish. We all felt that was an exception, a vote-gathering ploy.
But it’s become progressively worse. The moral police has kicked in, stopping couples from holding hands or hugging inpublic. The recent trend, however, is the most dangerous — the Indian male is showing his true colours.
There was a time, when if a guy made a lewd comment, you could raise a hue and cry, and ten Don Quixotes would come to your rescue. Now, they join in. What happened to that poor girl in Guwahati — she’s my age. We said, no way that’ll happen in Mumbai. You really believe that ? You don’t think that if I went alone into a nightclub, some sex starved chauvinistic boy wouldn’t try and act smart and then post the whole incident on You Tube?
Trust me, this is the new Mumbai, anything can happen.
Some guys in her neighbourhood have been harassing my 16 year-old friend, Pushpa. For the first time ever, she’s nervous. People keep telling her, ‘This is Mumbai, no one throws acid here, that kind of thing happens only in Jharkhand.’ Don’t make me laugh.
I ask, where did ‘izzat’ go? A cop accused of molesation gets his pension back. Another cop walks around with a hockey stick, stopping us from partying. What’s the point of being young if you can’t enjoy your youth? At least other towns have never pretended to be progressive. But Mumbai was the poster city of open-mindedness.
I’ve just had it with Mumbai — I’m tired of being told what to do, how to behave, and what to wear. I turn 18 next year. Apparently that is the legal age when I can start drinking and cast my vote. What’s the point, I say. In this negative atmosphere, who wants to drink? No politician deserves my vote. Papa says, I’m becoming too cynical, and that ‘This is Mumbai, just chill. Right.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at email@example.com
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.