Mumbai Memoir 32- Mumbai’s Good Samaritans!
At first glance, like any other metropolitan city of the world, Mumbai too may be interpreted as a fast, cold and apathetic city. Everyone here seems to be busy about sorting their own ‘blues’ of living in a multi-coloured city that exposes its people to both benefits and drawbacks of urbanization. Due to its cosmopolitan nature, the city is a boiling pot of people just not from various parts of India, but also from neighbouring Nepal. The distance between Mumbai and Nepal is about 1541kms but for a Mumbai’kar Nepal has just been around the corner in some form or other. Generations after generations, the members of the Gorkha community from Nepal have proudly served Mumbai as security guards of organizations and residential complexes. The loyalty and hardwork of this community is highly respected by Mumbai’kars (citizens of Mumbai). During winter, many Nepali vendors are seen selling woollen garments mostly around South Mumbai area. Bollywood too is sprinkled with people of Nepali origin who have been popular as musicians and performing artists. Manisha Koirala, Mahima Chaudary, Udit Narayan, Louis Banks etc. are few such artists who have entertained the masses.
On 25th April 2015, when Mumbai’kars were about to take their lunch break their heart skipped a beat after hearing about the earthquake that almost uprooted Nepal! As news channels started flashing pictures and video footage of the devastation that occurred with the 7.8 Richter ‘Gorkha’ earthquake, most Mumbai’kars felt restless about the ambiguity of Nature’s ‘anger’! Ironically, I realized that the peaceful land of ‘The Buddha’ was subjected to the aggressive nature of Mother Earth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR0cWH8PmF8
As death counts went up to 10,000 plus and injuries up to 20,000, Mumbai could feel Nepal’s pain inspite of been 1541 kms apart. On the following day Mumbai responded and started contributing to the earthquake relief measures. Housewives, entrepreneurs, college students, professionals and even little kids showed their support through their affirmative action. Almost every alternate street of Mumbai had a ‘collection centre’ set up by local residential complexes, NGOs or political parties. Cartons filled with clothes, blankets, tents and medicines were been packed and dispatched from the centres to Kathmandu on a daily basis.
Two sisters, Rintu Rathod and Krishna Desai along with their neighbour Vinita Hurkat from Santacruz, Mumbai came up with a very innovative concept of providing food packets to the earthquake survivors. They planned to send ‘theplas’ (an Indian pancake, shallow fried, and is made from a mixture of flours, mild spice and shredded vegetables) ‘Theplas’ stay fresh for many days due to its shallow fried treatment and so the trio selected it as food item to be sent to feed the victims of the earthquake. On lines of crowdfunding principle, 25 theplas were requested from each household thus creating a ‘food army’ that rolled pancakes which were hygienically packed and sent to Nepal on an urgent basis. My organization, Mind Matterz www.mindmatterz.net donated 25 such ‘theplas’ which were made by our Merchandise Executive, Priya Sanghavi. Approximately 700 Kg of ‘theplas’ were sent by the ‘food army’!
On the telecommunication front, Nepal was disconnected from the world immediately after the earthquake. Many Nepali Mumbaikars panicked as they were unable to track their brethren’s well-being in the mountain kingdom. 15 certified HAM radio operators from Mumbai rose to the occasion and volunteered to bridge the communication gap by relaying messages over their radio set up between Nepal and Mumbai!
People from all socio-economic classes of Mumbai were part of the Nepal Earthquake Relief Operation. After witnessing this fact, since then a heart warming belief anchored in my mind that ‘Richness is not defined by how much you have, rather its defined by how much you are ready to share from whatever little you have’!
Like Mumbai, most of the Indian states and their cities helped as per their outreach and capacity. But talking about my hometown, time and again Mumbai has genuinely exhibited its empathetic and benevolent side, though it may not be apparent in the usual busy work days. As help reached Nepal from Mumbai and across the globe, once again it was proved that a country’s border can stop a foreigner from entering its territory, but cannot stop ‘humanity’ to seep in from across the borders!
Photo Credits: Hindustan Times, CNN, Free Internet source.
Photos and Captions:
‘Collection Centre’ of Nepal Relief Operations
Enthusiatic Mumbai’kars helping Nepal
‘Food Army’ making ‘theplas’.
Mumbai’kars of all age offering help to Nepal.
Rintu Rathod and her team packing ‘theplas’.
‘Buddha statute sitting calm amidst the chaos!