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…that’s what my country is today. It took us five decades to shed four centuries worth of oppression – this new millenium ushered in a new India. Those of us capable (and who had the opportunities) went along gleefully, working hard without stopping to take a breath, thinking that if we run hard enough, we will leave all our troubles behind. Call it optimism or naivete… this is what we as a collective have decided to do.

To hell with the naysayers, damn you if you don’t believe in the new India. Today we are shining, and the sheen is of our sweat and blood.

Who’s got the time for tears? Who cares if sometimes our blood is taken from us…along with lives, souls and families? We are breathless.

We believe in the power of education…and we have more engineers than anyone else in the world. The poor from the villages don’t need to study – who will drive our rickshaws and taxis? 

We believe in the power of intellect and we are working breathlessly to regain the glory of Aryabhatta. We are the heroes of the zeroes.

Our cities are growing faster than any in the world – our property prices are higher than those in Manhattan. Even the guys living under the flyovers are lucky!

We have the muscle today to buy foriegn companies – may the sun never set on the Indian empire!  We live and die by the Electro-Cardio-Gram of the Sensex. We breathe with the frequency of Mumbai’s local trains. And you tell me – our freedom is in danger? Shame on you!

We are guided by our principles of non-violence and peace – and we think that non-violence equals not fighting. Gandhi would have been proud of us no? 

We are secular – we believe all religions are equal and all Indians (from our side of the LOC) are our brothers and sisters. We believe that this gives our brothers in the Indian Mujahideen and their franchises to slap us in the face every now and then. What are a few spats between brothers we say. I love you my brothers…go ahead, rape and pillage…and I will love you still. Because frankly… we don’t care.

Because we are breathless in our success.

We are content with the status-quo in Kashmir – as long as we have our jobs. We want to keep talking with our neighbours… and because we believe in the half-full glass… we think they are swell. We are growing faster than we ever have before…and faster than most of the world. We have set our sights high… and we are constantly looking at the fireworks in the sky.

Boom! and flash of light and colours – we think we deserve the celebration, the adulation and the respect of the world. Boom! The ones in the marketplaces and the railway stations get lost in the fireworks above. We have to keep looking up. Keep moving forward.

If we run fast enough…we will leave our troubles behind.

Let us throw a 1000 new cars on the road for every mangled bike. Let us create a thousand new engineers for every broken life. Grace under pressure. Grit under duress.

Sure there are troubles around us and sure we had that fight yesterday – but isn’t it great that we have a nationwide pandemic of Alzheimers (which usually hits in the 60s…how apt for India!) and we tend to forget our spats and try to get along?

Come join me my brothers and sisters in my breathlessness. Run as fast as I am running…and soon you will leave your troubles behind.

Meanwhile…if you really want to know what Mumbai means to a true-blue Mumbaikar – read this: http://wisdomwearsneonpyjamas.wordpress.com/2008/11/29/of-home-heart-and-horror/ – The words are almost as beautiful as the city…