Time- 10:30 am. Place- Mumbai
You are leaving for your office bidding goodbye to your parents, your spouse, and your kids. Your mom wants to discuss something and you say you would talk about it when you return. You promise the little ones to get them chocolates or sweets when you return in the evening and leave to get the ever crowded Mumbai local train to the office. Sounds like a normal day? But what if you do not return in the evening?
This is exactly what happened at Elphinstone station at 10:45 am on 29th September 2017. A rumor led to a stampede killing around 22 people and injuring 27. The only fault of these people was that they were trying to survive in this ‘City of dreams’ by reaching their respective offices in the immensely crowded trains and stations. Who is to be held responsible for the unfinished conversations, the unkept promises? Are 5 lakh Rupees enough to compensate for the dismay in those waiting eyes?
I am not in favor of any political party neither am I against any. All I am asking for is the basic infrastructure which would ensure safe travel of commoners to their workplace and back home. Am I asking for a lot?
I am not against the bullet train either. Of course the nation needs to be progressive and I am super proud of the initiative as an Indian. But at the same time incidences like these shake the faith in the very basic foundation. The local trains which are termed as the “lifeline” of Mumbai are delayed almost every day. The delayed trains lead to overcrowding. I do not deny the fact that Mumbai is a crowded city but the current infrastructure is inadequate to accommodate even the minimum residents. I understand that the space is insufficient here but we need to think of alternatives as it is going to be worse in the near future.
Though I agree that the current infrastructure is inadequate, what did we, as regular travelers do in the disastrous situation? Where was our humanity when we stamped the dying or the dead to save ourselves? And that too for what? A rumor which we did not even bother to verify once? We wanted to save ourselves from getting wet in the rains when others were dying just a few meters away. Has Mumbai, the city renowned for standing together in the worst of times, become so insensitive? Didn’t we even once think about the families of the dying whom we stamped? We have definitely progressed technologically but as human beings, maybe we are degrading. May be we need be a bit more rational and sensitive, a bit more human, in such situations of distress.
Also I would like to request the government as well as private businesses to not have such stringent work timings. Try to have flexible work timings. It’s okay if someone reaches the workplace 15 minutes late than having ‘late’ before his/her name. Please think about this before making policies.
I would conclude saying that lets keep the spirit Mumbai. Let us be as sensitive and human as we were during all the severe natural calamities we faced over the years. Let us stand together and support each other in such difficult times as we always have. The government, at the same time, should understand that Mumbai won’t always be tolerant and move on so easily.
I offer sincere prayers for the souls of the deceased in the incident and condolences to their families.