Bright Side of Life

A forwarded email from my wife contained some interesting truths about commuting in the city of Mumbai :


While Travelling by the Mumbai local trains…


Never iron your shirt if you intend to travel during peak hours. The packed train shall do the needful.

Before getting off at a station always make sure to ask the person ahead of you, "Uterega Kya?" (i.e. "Will you be getting down?") This way you shall not feel left out.

If you happen to be one of those few gazillion, who travel by train during peak hours, on a regular basis, do not spend money on gymnasiums or health instructors. You will realize how effortlessly and in an innovative manner, one can practice yoga while travelling.

In case you happen to sweat or if your nose starts twitching, rub the desired body part on the clothes of the person standing closest to you. Your hands are gonna be of no use to you at that time.


As someone who commutes regularly by trains in Mumbai, I knew it was all true! (And that was perhaps the only way this "joke mail" would bring a smile to any one’s face!) Every day, hundreds of thousands of commuters travel in these inhuman conditions, trying to make the most of it.

And it’s not just the trains in Mumbai. There are so many things that are now a part of our every day routines that we would gladly give up, if only we had a choice. But we continue to go on… seemingly unaffected by it all.

As it turns out, that very day, I also chanced upon a post on Atanu’s blog that quoted Howard Zinn on the triumph of the human spirit :


What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.


And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.


When I think about it, I realize that that "optimism" – in defiance of all that is bad around us – is probably the only thing that keeps us all going… keeps us sane.

Join the Conversation


  1. While we must celebrate the indomitable human spirit that supports our survival amidst misery and hardship,we cannot afford to overlook flaws and imperfections that surround us.I recall a report aired on NDTV 24/7 about a passenger who was lying in a pool of blood on the platform of a rail station in Bombay,completely ignored and unattended by fellow commuters standing there.When did we stop feeling compassionate to this extent ? Such apathy cannot be justified by the human race. Our government wants us to believe that we have reasons to feel good but the overwhelming evidence to the contrary can be accepted only when we bother to look around us and realise the plight of those millions who have nothing to feel good about.we cannot be insensate and march ahead..

  2. It’s very necessary to be optimistic and sensitive at the same time perhaps? I defer to those who have experienced more of life, who’s opinions I have collected for inspiration, really. is not the natural state of the human race, hence it is finite.

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