There is excessive [tag]economic disparity[/tag] in Mumbai. It is a known phenomenon but never did the reality hit me so hard than the other day.
I was traveling in the second class compartment in a crowded [tag]local train[/tag]. Every now and then, a [tag]salesman[/tag] would board the compartment and advertise his wares. These salesmen have innovative strategies to attract the bored commuters’ attention. It’s definitely an art!
A [tag]perfume[/tag] seller got in at Thane and soon the whole compartment was filled with a sweet scent. Automatically people’s curious heads turned and he captured their interest in no time. He started speaking.
महिन्याला दोन हजार कमावता, दहा रुपयाचा परफ्यूम का नाही परवडणार? राजा सारखे जगा, घामाने भिजून कामाला जाण्यात काय अर्थ आहे? हा परफ्यूम वापरा आणि बघा सगळे कसे इंप्रेस होतात ते. तुमचे साहेब केबिन मध्ये बोलवून तुमहाला प्रोमोशन देतील! गारंटी देतो, घेऊन तर बघा.
(You are earning Rs. 2000 a month; why cant you afford a perfume for Rs. 10? Live like a king, whats the point in going to work smelling of sweat? Try this perfume and everyone in your office will be impressed. Your boss will call you into his cabin and give you a promotion. Just try, it works.)
He then went about offering free samples to everyone who stretched their hand. Within minutes the guy sold about 15 bottles and happily exited to the next compartment.
What left me stunned was his line ‘You are earning 2000 per month’. How can people survive on such a paltry amount? Initially it was self-denial, ‘nobody earns so low’. But dammit, there ARE people who work in my office doing odd jobs such as cleaning the tables in the cafeteria, or keeping fresh stacks of paper near the printer. These guys earn an annual [tag]income[/tag] less than my monthly [tag]salary[/tag]. And yet they are much better off than the daily wage workers, who not only toil physically all day, but also wonder at the end of the day where their next meal is going to come from.
Yes, there is lot of money in Mumbai, and if you are hardworking and educated, you share the pie. If you are not educated and lack communication skills, the pie is a distant dream. Of course, I’m making this sound as simple as two plus two four, rather than talking about the grim facts. Things are getting increasingly polarized and the economic divide is staggering.
The perfume seller spread fragrance in the train, but thinking of all these things raised a stink.