MUMBAI-TISS-SEZ-FRIENDS-HOME

September 17, 2009 at 8:51 PM 2 comments

Hi people… this is write-up is about my stay in Mumbai, so start reading if only if you can complete it. I guess its lengthy about four and a half page.

 

Venturing Mumbai

Just when I thought we had a whole mid morning to take a nap, we had a call Shivam, the event coordinator of Public audit of Maharashtra on behalf of TISS, first he enquired about the journey and then he told us that if need be he would need some assistance in setting up the Public Audit.

 

Evening after some light snack I and Jayanth ventured out to Mumbai city, for beginners the city is quite “wow” for expression with broad roads and huge infrastructure for its growing population, while maintaining its ecological balance. In fact I was very much surprised to see farm cultivation in the heart of the city.

 

Juhu Gola

 

In Mumbai there is a system of bus pass in which you pay a lump sum of Rs 25 take any number of city bus for the one day. We travelled from Chembur to Bandra and a connecting bus to Juhu Chowpaty.

 DSC_0850

Juhu chowpaty is a crowded place even on weekdays with families, tourists and all sorts of petty vendors loitering in the beach premises. One of the vendors was selling “crushed ice” thing called GOLA, it was quite simple with crushed ice and a dash of flavored syrup. With so many colours I could not make up my mind on deciding the flavour. So the vendor suggested me that “KALAKHATTA” was his master piece. “KALAKHATTA” had a unique tangy flavour moreover topped with a pinch of chat masala the flavor despite of crossover blended perfectly well with one another. Every now and then I was choking in between my “GOLA GRUB” but I guess that was worth tasting the cool tit-bit.

 

DSC_0838From Juhu beach I was able to take some pictures of worli-bandra sea link using my 70mm-300mm telescopic lens. But photography was interrupted by a security guard of some private hotel (which was on the shore of the Juhu Beach) who authoritatively asked me not to take pictures of the beach. I wanted to protest on his demand but then I realized “Mala Marati bolayla yeth nahin” but anyway I took a couple of more pictures before leaving the sweet spot.

 

After visiting Juhu Beach we visited ISKON temple which again seemed to be a favorite stops to all Mumbaikars, coincidently we visited the temple during darshan hours. So we were able to catch a glimpse the beautiful architectural sculpture of Shree Krishna and Radha. By the time we left from ISKON, it almost late evening 8.00AM, so we took a direct bus from Juhu to TISS.

 

Dinner Hall

 

At TISS we had a huge dinner platter waiting for us. Yum, I envy my friends at TISS who get to eat all those goodies 4 times a day. There was salad, chapathi, dal, rice, curds, some sweet like half Rasogulla and half topping of fresh-cream with cherry dipped in the fresh sugar concentrate. The platter was so good that I had to take second serving of some of those items, Kudos to TISS canteen alias DH alias Dinning Hall.

 

Public Audit Maharashtra

 

DSC_0883The next day, morning 15 September at the TISS campus entrance a bus was waiting to for us. Around 50 passengers’, including the staff, students, left the campus at around 9.00am and after covering approximately 120 kilometers from Chembur and we reached Div Village, panvel taluka, Maharashtra at around 11.00 AM.

 

Raigad has been on the SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONE scanners of the multinational corporates for quite some time. This region is both the food bowl as well as the life line of thousands of farmers living in this region. Almost 22 villages will be adversely if these fertile lands are converted for commercial purpose and in the same process the farmers will be at the receiving end of this ruthless exploitation.

 

So at least in this region the farmers are well aware of their fundamental rights and have decided not to depart from their motherland without agitation. So the farmers have strongly condemned and agitated against the government measure for notifying their prosperous land for SEZ.  

 

DSC_0997The unanimous fight against SEZ by the farmers was clearly seen throughout the Public-Audit all day long, eminent panelist like Prabash Joshi, E.A.S. Sarma, Aruna Roy and several were present to listen to more than 20 testimonials of farmers, fishermen who felt that their concerns were totally ignored by the government. While SEZ has been empowered with unfair instruments like Tax- free period, no upper limit or ceiling for land holding which gave the power to the companies to kill the cottage industry..

 

In my opinion SEZ is a measure adopted by a government which is trying to shed away from its responsibilities towards its people, by empowering multinational companies to pour money to the region, while the government only takes the credit of the developmental work its administration. The absence SEZ promoters at the Public audit of Maharashtra provided ample proof to the fact that these corporates are only interested in procuring best returns for their investment regardless of the number of lives destroyed in the process and how could any government support such legislations which is anti-people’s consent.

 

The arbitrariness of the government made me think how vulnerable our lives are in our own country. The principles of SEZ seemed to be on par with that of the draconian laws of the “BRITISH EAST INDIA COMPANY RAAJ” in which the private companies were at the liberty to dispose the entire nation as per their wish and fancies while safe guarding their commercial interest (perhaps the only difference is in those days internal feuds of the “the Indian Kings” was responsible for the downfall of our country and today it is the ministers of different political parties).

 

More over it is alarming to know that unlike constitution limitation set for land ownership by individuals or institution SEZ has no fixed “upper limit” for its land procurement. It means that in the near future SEZ can expand its facilities at unlimited proportion so much so that even the elected representatives may be a puppet in the hand of these economically secure corporations.

 

 

Bhavneet Kaur – LOL girl

It was almost 6.00 pm the Public Audit was finally over; we were waiting for other to assemble near the registration counter which by now was nothing more dismantled setup of a desk and a chair. Suddenly out of nowhere a girl introducing herself as Bhavneet Kaur a resident of Punjab requested for a pen and a paper from my friend Jayanth. She further bothered to explain that all these involvements in SEZ activity had tickled some thought in her mind which she wanted to pen down. In her own words “it is not a poem but just a vent out of feelings on paper” (heavy words…isn’t it?). Once she got hold of pen and paper she somehow managed to sit on “former registration counter” and wrote for about 20 minutes (By the way I later recollected that, this was the same girl who looked at me angrily while I was shooting the Public audit).

 

As we returned from Raigad, the TISS group was totally exhausted due to their 100% involvement in the public audit process. But there was no end to their spirits all through the way back to TISS we all started singing slogans of ANTI-SEZ campaign in the bus.

 

Even we got pulled into the mood and there was this strong rapport which kept on growing amongst us it was strange, the strangers from different part of India like DELHI, KARNATAKA, TAMILNADU, MUMBAI, PUNJAB who barely knew each others few hours ago singing along in the same tune with a gusto spirit. It seemed the youth of the country had finally heard itself in the call of duty.

 

Meet the Junoon Group of TISS

 The participants of Public Audit were the last batch of hungry people for the day at the DINNING HALL of TISS campus. This small bunch of people brought the entire isolated mess hall to life.

 

Bhavneet Kaur (that poet/ writer I was speaking about with a sophisticated Samsung mobile phone) joined us for dinner along with her friend Charanya. Now this is a Bangalorean is very photo conscience. Despite of several tries and coaxing we were not able to get a proper photograph of Charanya (which makes me wonder how she gets her Identity card done).

 

About 20 minutes later their entire gang came to the DH, (please forgive me for not recollecting their names), but I can tell the sequence of arrival….. first a girl (boy cut hair… I guess) in green dress came in with I-pod on her ears, then a Mangalorean guy with beard and moustache, then came another guy with a black coloured t-shirt and a French beard connected to side-Locke, then one more girl with black t-shirt embraced all her friends, then again a girl who claimed to have consumed “RED BULL” said a loud hi to all her friends.

 

It was such a jolly-good group (touch wood), everyone was so happy having one another. Though their arrival was spontaneous they had a perfect timing of arrival for the song “hai junoon” from the movie New York (Therefore the name “Junoon group”). After about an hour and a half all of us retreated to our rooms. As I walked towards my room I realized that next day marked our departure from TISS campus and I might really miss this bunch of friends.

 

Last day at TISS

The next day I got up quite late at 06.15A.M (I can’t sleep after 6.00 clock ever since I have joined NCC). Anyways I tried making a black tea which proved disastrous so I decided to finish it off in a gulp (the moral of the story never try to drink liquid which is at a boiling temperature).

 

DSC_1054After breakfast at 8.00pm we had an evaluation of the SEZ Raigad. During the closure of the meeting Vinay, my colleague informed me that we better hurry up as Matsyaganda express was leaving at 2.05pm but I argued that the departure was at 2.50PM. But the tone of confidence of Vivek’s voice made me a little nervous. So I gobbled up all the yummy food like kebab, Rasogulla, payasam, dal, roti, salad (I guess the Indian thali had turned must have turned into a continental dish) and made a dash to my room only to find that vinay was right. Me, Jayanth and Tulasi raced to catch an auto at 01.35 PM. In a hurry I met only Bhavneet Kaur and told bye to her in a hurry.

 

F1 in Mumbai

The autowala understanding our situation drew swiftly to Kurla, but instead of Kurla terminal he dropped us at Kurla local. And hence we gave up the hope of catching the train, suddenly this driver called Hemanth overheard our conversation and immediately asked us to hop his auto we just followed his instruction blindly. He drove the auto with full throttle to kurla terminal and got us on time to the station and guided us to the platform.

 

It was 02.06pm we somehow managed to enter our bogie(the chase sequence was not the one like DDLJ, but the one like MARTIX) and started gasping for breath and LOL. It was a great relief with a sense of achievement. The journey back in train was as usual with so many Mangalorean speaking Tulu and some other familiar Mangalorean languages.  While on train I most of the time hanging along the footboard (I cannot sit at any place for more than two hours at a stretch).

 

There was this old gentleman sitting on the first row of the bogie with his wife (seemed they were irritated to see me standing on the footboard). Whenever I turned back I caught the old fellow staring at me. Least I wanted to hear advice from anybody so I continued ignoring the couple an enjoyed the dark beauty of night. We came across several tunnels some measuring as long as 1800 meters.

 

At some junction because of a Jayanth’s proactive (not needed) comments some enuches made easy 10 bucks which I had pay up because he didn’t have change(it always happens he does mistake and I pay for itliterally”).

 

In Maharashtra the planes fly almost frequently people don’t even bother to give it a glance, but I still look up everyone of it (almost mechanically but I tried to avoid it because I didn’t want to look like an idiot).

 

For dinner as we had no other option we had to settle for Vada pav (truly mumbian style) but still I was tempted to go to the TISS canteen. After some more time everyone fell asleep as I did not have any book to read by, I decided to listen to “Hai Junoon” from the movie NWEYORK for the 999th time.

 

The first person to give a warm smile as I got up today morning was the old lady who the previous evening seemed angry with me for standing on the foot-board, I couldn’t figure out anyway I sat with a cup of tea.

 

Old is gold

Sometime later I went over to stand over the footboard, to my surprise I found the old man (who I thought was angry with me standing on the footboard), he was enjoying the breeze passing over his hair (of course whichever was remaining)  giving me a warm smile to me as though to challenging me saying “even I can do it”. I stared at him for some time but he was unshakable with his smile. He was a man approximately 80 year old man as I neared the basin and looked back, the old man’s wife was having a wide baby like smile. The old man stepped back and said “Nimma asthana” means “your place” and later he tapped my back and then he got down in the very next stop.

 

Unfulfilled promises

The rest of the journey was silent as usual and after about couple of more stop the train dragged to a halt in Mangalore central at 9.26am.

Then it struck to me a lot off uncommitted responsibilities I had taken up before leaving to Mumbai

1)      Which including purchasing “Ice peda” for my friends and

2)      Purposely not telling my mother about the travel to Mumbai (you see she has the potential to emotionally blackmail me to stay back in Mangalore) so now that I had come back I need to confess it to her (please suggest me how?).

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Mumbai Meri Jaan….. Darting Doctors …….

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Norbert  |  September 18, 2009 at 10:12 AM

    Nice Reporting!!

  • 2. wilma  |  September 19, 2009 at 7:24 PM

    finally didnt bring gola but has put its photo… so bad…….

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