Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Psyche of a Mumbaiker

Rising to the sun’s rays, this cosmopolitan city never seems to lose its charm. Bustling with activity at all times of the day, the vibrancy on the streets of Mumbai echo out the spirit of a true Mumbaiker.

Forming one of the most populated cities in the world and claiming to brush shoulders with international cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Berlin, Mumbai is one of the Alpha world cities.

Being an island city, Mumbai is formed from seven islands – Bombay Island, Parel, Mazgaon, Mahim, Colaba, Worli and Old Woman’s Island (also known as Little Colaba). It has a natural deep harbour and is well known for its fishing activities by the Koli fishing community, where a large section of society finds their line of work. Formerly known by a variation of different names, Bombay was also known as Ancient Greek, but later modifications resulted in its final name as Mumbai signifying a true Marathi identity, named after a Hindu goddess- Mumbadevi.

Mumbai is a city known for its “Never say Die” Attitude and ability to restore itself even after the biggest tragedies. The media and people never cease to stop praising how wonderful and tolerant the city is.

But, underneath this crust lays the reality that Mumbai’s success as a global city is from the fact that it is an insensitive and intolerant city. Life here has to keep up at a rapid pace and people are churned into this cycle. In constant momentum, this individualistic nature of the city sets pace for all strata of the society.

Whether it is the white-collared professionals or the blue-collared ones the rat race towards survival and getting work done in Mumbai is immense. En-wrapped in one’s own work and personal life, it is this very obsessive self- interest attitude which reflects on the Mumbai culture.

Right from school years one is constantly preoccupied with oneself. As age increases it is only the mere activity which changes, where the attitude remains the same. In this dog-eat-dog world, every day is a day of test and trial.
Trapped in this vicious rat race of life, the average Mumbaiker finds himself racing against time. His dilemma stems from running from pillar to pillar, post-to-post; mentally absorbed in his own life. Whether it is a middle class man, or an elite business man or those who are from lower class or below the socioeconomic line, the situation is the same; it is only the quality and standard of life that is different. Competition is present on all sides.

People here, are thus left self-cantered coping with their own busy life. Interaction occurs only between those people you encounter with in daily life and no one has the time to think or care about anything happening around them.

People thus tend to become cold, detached, emotionless and impassive towards larger issues that arise. However, a true Mumbaiker pulls up his socks to stay in the game, and this is what rightly describes the spirit of a Mumbaiker.

Cell phones play an even increasing role here, as their usage leads to disembodied relationships which in turn lead to a virtual life. Instead of developing fulfilling relationships, people are even more interested in making their lives more solitary, where communication extends to mere verbal or textual form. Thoughts too get crunched as average Mumbaiker’s converse through shortened sentences and one’s ability to freely express in entirety gets limited. This constant preoccupation over one’s life, work and socializing runs through youngsters and adults forms the major psyche of a Mumbaiker.