The roads of Mumbai offer strange sights. Sights, that sometimes are difficult to swallow. And others that take a permanent long term lease in your heart.
The seamless merger of the world can be confounding yet be a thing of amusement. Wonderment. Inspiration. Or even, activism. And a countless other things, depending on what pervades the mind at that time.
Here is one such seamless existence. On the road. Wearing seat belts in a car is mandatory here. Cops get mentioned as ‘zealots’ or ‘duty conscious’ depending on who you talked to and how much they have had to pay for not wearing seat belts.
All this for travelling without seat belts. In a car which has crash bars. Side bars. Air bags. And of course, which has been crash tested. Built to X sigma quality. Marketed by God. Or Shah Rukh Khan. ( Now that the film celebs think of themselves as God, God can well be having a befuddling identity crisis)
Here are the other passengers. Without seat belts. Taking on life daily. With smiles as cushions. Daily living as crash tests. Built over many years to exacting requirements that life throws that can beat the best simulation game, hands down !
Battling an inflation. In prices. In population. In difficulty of life. And of course, in aspirations and dreams ! Life needs to be met. And lived. Happily so. Too.
This was clicked on JJ flyover. Sunday morning. Vegetable retailers. After picking up their stuff. All set to sell it to different markets. Perhaps in the suburbs. Holding on to carefully dangled ropes. Perhaps, with life and living as the carrot !
This on the Western Express Highway. Early in the morning. Young men, who perhaps have been up since the middle of the night, catching a quick wink. Atop, vegetables that they perhaps helped load. And will unload in sometime.
A milk van and its attenders. The crates that held milk packets support their backs, as they catch a quick wink. They sure have been up and awake. Supplying milk. And running about.
Fish vendors. Driving back from the wholesale market. Boys. Women. Men. Chatting. Smiling. Sleeping. Holding on. And of course, there is a mezzanine floor over there. The floor beneath has, yes, fish !
An empty minivan. With ropes hanging all over. The gent putting some pink on a circus gymnasts face, by just adroitly holding on. As the tyres find new potholes and the non-existent shock absorbers get tested !
Wonder if you notice the human element here. two legs popping out of the window ! Here is a man ( i think ) who is lying down on the hard surface of this van, his legs atop the open window.
Piped natural gas. Emergency Van ! hmm.
So, people buckle up. Its law. And if you would care, look around. At life and people. There is an amorphous beauty in life and living. In getting by. And getting ahead.
Oh yes, buckling down, is not an option.