Friday, 4 May 2012

Mumbai Spirit: A Myth?

You know those texts that you get about the “Mumbai spirit” (I put it in inverted commas to express sarcasm) whenever Mumbai is hit by a tragedy? I always thought it was a way to comfort ourselves. Optimism spreads amongst us Indians like wild fire. Obviously some dude isn’t going to forward a message saying that Mumbai is hit by a calamity and we all are going to suffer and die and there is no recovering from that.
Anyway, I’m getting a bit off-track here. Where was I? Ah, the Mumbai Spirit. In inverted commas so it reads “Mumbai spirit”. Yeah, like I said I thought it was like Santa Claus but for adults. But today I realised that this particular Santa indeed did exist.  
How did I come to this conclusion? Well, here’s the story: I have a Santro. Well, technically my dad owns it. But he allows me to drive it. He’s nice that way. And he doesn’t need to worry because it’s pretty old and damaged to begin with. The new SX4, on the other hand is a different story. So anyway, I started the Santro today or rather tried to start is and it wouldn’t budge. This was the first time I was facing a battery problem. So I asked a few drivers if they could help me push it. They agreed. In no time I was racing down the street. And by racing I don’t mean speeding. I was just making a hell lot of noise by pressing the accelerator along with the clutch. It’s supposed to help recharge your battery or something. By the time I reach the main road, which is a sort of a slope, the car is doing fine. So I let go of the worry and start driving just like I usually do-carelessly. Before I know it I made some blunder while changing gears and the car stops. I try to start it but it wouldn’t start. So I am stuck on the road which is a slope to re-iterate, there’s a never-ending line of cars behind me honking their horns and possibly even abusing me. I pull the handbrake and get out of the car and ask them to take the next lane with an apologetic look on my face. Before I know it two bikers jump down from their bikes, make me sit inside and start pushing the car. And even more surprisingly, people from the tea-stall on the footpath join in uninvited as if gate-crashing a party. What’s funny is that they have these huge grins on their faces and they are asking others on the road to join them. What’s even more astonishing is that those people actually join them. By the end of it at least ten people are pushing my tiny Santro until it has started. I put my hand out and waved my thanks to them (couldn’t get out cause the car would’ve stopped.) It was an amazing experience.
I still believe that a part of the Mumbai Spirit is a myth but I did get to experience a part of it today.  And I am grateful for that.


  1. I liked your post! Your writing reminds me a little bit of my own (we even have the same background!). I'm joining your site...I'd like to read more of your stuff. Smiles - Astrid

  2. Good post!
    Actually, this is true in any other city in India.
    It's not the Mumbai spirit, but the endless hospitality and eagerness to help that defines Indians.