“I always like walking in the rain, so no one can see me crying.”
No, that’s not your ordinary Mumbai resident, the morning after three blasts rocked crowded markets Wednesday evening, killing 18 people and injuring more than 130. It’s a famous quote by Charlie Chaplin, arguably the greatest comedian the world has ever known.
But the joke is on the Mumbaikar, yet again, as torrential rains lash this coastal city in what seems like Mother Nature’s wasted effort to wash away somebody else’s sins.
People pick up the pieces and move on, not out of resilience, but a paucity of options amid a struggle for survival every day. Schools are open and the shutters are back up in most shops, even in blast-hit localities.
My wife left for her film shoot at 7 this morning, as if nothing happened. It did make me think. Many moons ago, in 1993, I stopped to help a fellow passenger who nearly fell between the local train and the tracks. I saw something similar two days later and did not even bother to stop. I couldn’t, as I had a meeting I could ill afford to miss.
The same goes for the street vendor and Mumbai’s floating population who have no option but to go back to the same spot and set up shop.