Last week, the mother and a close friend called me a cynic. More accurately that I had a cynical perspective of life and that somewhere my writing bore impression of that. They didn’t use as many words but that’s what they said. More or less. The friend, let’s call her R, also expressed concern that I was turning jaded. I cannot but agree with them.
Mumbai turns me cynical by the day. I frown, I whine, I weep. But I conveniently forget how easy it is to smile. And let’s not forget, this city also gives me ample opportunity to smile. I lock eyes with an absolute stranger awaiting his train on the platform. We smile and continue to do until my train chugs away from the station. And then later I smile at the memory of it. I smile (beam with joy, to be more accurate) when someone offers me a ride home from the station. I fight my way into the train every morning but a smile from a fellow commuter always breaks the ice between us.
I smile when I hear a child gurgling with delight. I also exchange a knowing look with the parent in question. And then I break into a smile again.
Yet, I don’t forget to frown, whine and weep. This city also endows me with a split personality. Apart from what I inherited, being a Gemini.
However, today, I’ve been smiling all day. Since yesterday. Ever since I saw a video of the flash mob at VT station. Initially, I saw it as a video recorded by somebody in the crowd. This morning a tweet by Shonan Kothari directed me to the official video.
It was just a bunch of extra-enthusiastic kids who broke into a choreographed dance to a popular Hindi number at a station in Mumbai. But I also sense an attempt to reclaim our city. I do not quite know the rationale behind the choice of the venue but the image of Kasab and his mates opening gunfire in the same space not too long ago lingers in public memory. Maybe, someday, an image of this flash mob will replace that horrific memory. And someday, the cynic in me will perish away as well.
But for now, I’m only filled with gratitude to Mumbai, to Shonan and to the 200-member dance team for making me smile incessantly all day. Thank you!