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   The strike of the auto-rickshaws... (March 26, 1990)

The strike of the auto-rickshaws has once again brought to light the tremendous difference in the lifestyles of the people who live in the city and those in the suburbs, for instance, for those in the city, the rickshaw strike is something they have read about in the newspapers, of little consequence to them. But for those in the suburbs, it is like a BEST, railway and taxi strike together.

There are other differences. For those in the city, means 10a.m. to 5p.m., with a little precaution of starting early to avoid the traffic. For those in the suburbs, it means 7.52 virar Fast, 8.13 Bandra Harbour, 6.19 Double Fast. All their times are in fractions, though their times are in fractions, though their trains hardly keep up to the fractions.

For city residents, trains are things they race with while driving along Queen's Road. For suburban residents, they are a vital part of their daily life and they discuss them interminably (more lights in the second-class compartment, the nuisanse of card-players in the 8.43 Ghatkopar fast, extra ladies first-class compartment) and write long letters to the editor about them.

For the city residents, shopping means Colaba Causeway, Grant Road Bridge, Amarsons. For the suburban residents, it means Linking Road, Elco Arcade, Cheap Jack.

For city residents, suburbs are a place they go to to catch a plane. For suburban residents, the city is a place they go to work in.

For the city people, theatre is NCPA, Sophia-Bhabha, for the suburban people, theatre is Prithvi Theatre, where they drink Irish coffee and appear shocked when some city person tell them he was not had Irish coffee at Prithvi Theatre.

For the city people, theatre actors are Hosi Vasunia, Ronnie Screwvalla, for the suburban people, they are Shabana Azmi, Shafi Inamdar, Naseeruddin Shah.

For city people, there is no difference between Bandra and East Bandra. For suburban people, there is a whole world of difference.

For city people, there is willingdom Club. For suburban people, there is Willingodn Gymkhana.

When city people occasionally visit the suburbs, seeing all the lights and shops and buildings, they say: My, how it has developed! Suburban people, who come to the city every day, do not say everything.

For outsiders, who have never been to Bombay, Bombay is the city. However, when they finally come to Bombay, they are forced to live in the suburbs, and the suburbs become Bombay to them.

Finally, the auto-rickshaws. In the city, if they ever refer to them, they say auto-rickshaws. In the suburbs, they simply say auto. In Banglore, I understand, they say - rick.

 
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