To South Mumbai:

South Mumbai, you study at Cathedral school, holiday in Cannes, eat kebabs at bade miyans, drink beer pipes at Leopolds and aperitif at the Taj, lecture at Davos, and fail in Hindi exams as a matter of honour. You refer to your part of the city simply as "town". Your life may be the stuff of our dreams, but your own dreams are in a foreign land. You disdain India's ineffectual politics while being insulated from its ills. Today, you are at war.

This is not just your war, South Mumbai. Middle-class Mumbaikars returning home from work were killed by terrorists firing at random, as were tourists and hotel staff. Besides, your shadow looms longer than your image. Your playgrounds the Taj, Oberoi, and Leopolds are destinations for that quintessentially Mumbai ideal: upward mobility. No matter which part of India we depart from, a dinner at the Taj Mahal Hotel means arrival. These dreams of ours that you painted, the changes to all our lives that your entrepreneurship unleashed, the shining India that you lit, is now under attack.

You don't vote, most of the time. And you don't need to vote to make your voice heard: it echoes from the corridors of Mantralaya to the darbars of Delhi. You may not know who your MP is, but mine is only one phone call away for you. Responsive politics, that illusion for which we trudge to booths every four years, is yours for the asking. You could so easily be using the power at your disposal to improve governance in India. But instead, you choose pliant politicians and bendable babus to clear your file quickly. When you do turn your gaze towards India, it is to ask for the few, not to demand for the many.

... contd.

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