I am one of the commonly found sub-species of homosapiens known as the middle class, middle aged, mothers(M3). What is special about us is that there is nothing different about anyone of us. I mean, of course each one of us is very special, and we are reminded of that on every Woman’s Day and Mother’s Day, but then really each one of us has common characteristics and share a common philosophy, et al. Anyway this article is not about us, rather, I was only trying to say that I am one of the M3s and true to my blood, rather averse to change.
Though world over the word ‘change’ seems to have positive connotations, somehow it does not mean much to me beyond, probably, the coins that I have to shell out to the ubiquitous conductor on the Big BEST Bus (B Cube).And even on such occasions the word is more like a four lettered word and whenever uttered makes my blood pressure rise. After all I am not the apex bank in the country to be able to hand out change to all and sundry.
Well, getting to the point, what actually made my blood freeze and my BP fall on that fateful Monday morning was a piece of news article appearing right there on the front page. Made we wonder what depths the editors in this country can stoop to just to get enough attention and readership or in modern day terminology ‘eyeballs’. Despite these reservations, I must admit that this one surely managed to almost gorge mine out of their sockets. The piece under reference worked like instant coffee on my subdued senses early in the morning.
What it informed me was that the B Cubes, the traditional kings of Mumbai roads, had suddenly decided to change. And what a way to change! Imagine our, very much public to the core, B Cubes going private. That too, by offering their esteemed services to offices and (hold your breath) schools! The latter truly freaked me out. I just can’t imagine the notorious B Cube ferrying school children all over the city.
You see the B Cubes are in every sense the dinosaurs on our Mumbai roads. They command space and attention. They instill fear and awe in the hearts of the mere mortals on the streets. We helplessly scurry helter-skelter trying to save our hides and also to hide into obscurity or risk being trampled on by them.
The sixty years of the nation’s independence has surely made the B Cubes independent enough to have their own set of rules and regulations. We mere mortals are supposed to run the most modern machines on the streets, keep them well oiled and maintained and have the PUC (whatever that means) done on time. But then our grand old B Cubes are like the heritage structures in the city, supposed to look and function according to their age. And of course since their independent set of rules has nothing to offer on pollution control they go about happily smoking and polluting. Then, being a heritage machine they not only have to maintain their look but also their feel. Hence these dusty, smoking , rickety pieces of heritage go about groaning and making the maximum noise about their condition. How else can one explain their insufferable honking even in ‘no honking’ zones.
Now after being independent for so many years the B Cubes have decided to liberalize as well and in their very first attempt have decided to offer their public services privately to our children. I am sure that most M3s would agree with me that dealing with these dinosaurs of modern age is more of a deadly combat and introducing children to such high risk sport at such an early age is unimaginable. Well the dinosaurs must surely have brushed their teeth clean for their very first social outing but it makes a simple M3 like me ask one important question: Who is the fool who wants our children to be their dinner?