My-opic Vision

Up close and personal...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Marine Drive Blues

Z+ security spells a bad day for regular junta, what with roads blocks, long diversions, and almost stagnant traffic. Imagine arriving at Marine Drive at 7.15 in the evening - the glory hour - and finding it sans it glory of coochie-cooing couples, hawkers selling wares at almost twice the original price (location tax I believe), click-happy tourists, carefree youngsters, families with kids, and joggers in almost always grossly fitted clothes and/or having really sweet cuddly doggies.
My heart leapt with joy to see that we had the whole promenade, enhanced further with pleasant drizzles, almost to ourselves. Alas! Like the high-low rhythm of the waves, after that leap my heart had to fall with a thud. Within minutes of our reaching there, the Marine Drive signal right outside Jazz By Bay resembled a police ground ready for a mini drill, with almost eight cops managing traffic (read ruining). 'Oh Ok. What now?' that was my first thought.
We ambled to the promenade. It was the first time I had managed to cross both lanes of the busy without running to save my life from sleek, extra-speeding vehicles. More happiness was in store, as we had so many best spots to choose from. The rain was perfect and the clouds were lazily strolling around egged by the gentle wind. A full moon, and I would be at peace. I would have happily chosen that moment to die without any regrets.
But VVIPs and their Z+ security arrangements interrupted my zen-like state. ARRGGH! Sitting on the promenade, I watched cops behave like they were handling some national emergency. Thanks to their diligent efforts, the lane heading towards Chowpatty was completely deserted, except for a few police vehicles, and the other lane was choc-o-block. As I saw luxurious cars honking desperately to move an inch, I realised traffic too is a great leveler*. Well, not really. The VVIP politicians would enjoy a freeway ride while other motorists were stuck. Not very different from how we handle everything in our country. We channelize our resources for the betterment of the privileged, without sparing a thought for the underprivileged.
Just when I was about to feel empathetic towards my middleclass brethren, I saw some slimy brown layer on the water. After much squinting, I realized that the slime was the by-product of our love for Lord Ganesha. Then, at the shore were a host of things from broken beer bottles to cola bottles, from plastic waste to condoms, from chocolate wrappers to gutkha pouches.

With a frown, I sat watching people disturbing lives around them and wondering when would sense prevail. The sea breeze eased the frown and settled my worries. The gentle raindrops changed my reactive ‘Why’ to a reflective ‘Why’.
Only Marine Drive could and can stir the blues and settle them at the same time.


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