The Mumbai terror attack has put Diego Maradona's two-day trip to Kolkata in doubt.If it doesn't work out there will be no doubt be many bitterly disappointed fans in Kolkata.However the people of Mumbai have weightier things on their minds right now.
The writer Suketu Mehta has captured brilliantly the dogged, resilient compassion of Mumbai in his book “Maximum City: Mumbai Lost and Found.”
He speaks in the book of asking a man named Asad bin Saif, who worked at an institute for secularism, whether the chaos and slums and filth made him pessimistic about human beings. Here is how Mr. Mehta continues the story:
“Not at all,” he responded. “Look at the hands from the trains.”
If you are late for work in the morning in Bombay, and you reach the station just as the train is leaving the platform, you can run up to the packed compartments and you will find many hands stretching out to grab you on board, unfolding outwards from the train like petals. As you run alongside the train, you will be picked up and some tiny space will be made for your feet on the edge of the compartment. The rest is up to you; you will probably have to hang on with your fingertips on
the door frame, being careful not to lean out too far lest you get decapitated by a pole placed too close to the tracks. But consider what has happened: your fellow-passengers, already packed tighter than cattle are legally allowed to be, their shirts already drenched in sweat in the badly ventilated compartment, having stood like this for hours, retain an empathy for you, know that your boss might yell at you or cut your pay if you miss this train, and will make space where none exists to take one more person with them. And at the moment of contact, they do not know if the hand that is reaching for theirs belongs to a Hindu or Muslim or Christian or Brahmin or untouchable, or whether you were born in this city or arrived only this morning, or whether you live in Malabar Hill or Jogeshwari, whether you’re from Bombay or Mumbai or New York. All they know is that you’re trying to get to work in the city of gold, and that’s enough. Come on board, they say. We’ll adjust."
I have lived for few years in Mumbai and I think that sums up the spirit of the city pretty well.The people of the city will pick themselves up after this latest monstrous demonstration of meaningless savagery and their compassion will endure.But when will it end?