quaint country living v. mumbai
April 28, 2010, 4:41 pm
Filed under: movies

On Monday got home to find that there was no water coming from the well, but that was instead a lot of rain water coming in from the roof–on two levels of the house no less. Sigh. The thought of having to manage more men doing (or more likely) not doing work around here is too depressing.

Reflecting on the utility debacle with the doode brought to mind the quaintness of country living. Yes each neighborhood has its own challenges–we’ve moved from the sideswipes and midnight oven dragging of Lawrenceville to the country charm of well and septic, and 3 months to get phone service on 50 year old wires at the end of a long trunk line. We wanted to move out here and we wanted to learn stuff. And boy aren’t we?!

I didn’t imagine that we could possibly ever have a connection with Peter Mayle’s Year in Provence, but alas, in some ways we can relate! All these guys are the same, the show up look at the job, and then they don’t do it! Yeah, naaah, the only we can do it is if…X. Etc. Etc. We checked in on a documentary on Sundance Channel (whew the cable still works which is cool) about Mumbai traffic. The link above has a nice summary by the filmmakers about it. Here’s a synopsis of the film:

“In the Indian city of Mumbai, 13 people die on public transportation every day. What’s more, traffic has increased so rapidly that the entire city becomes gridlocked during rush hour. The solution is a massive suspension bridge to be built off the coast, linking the north of the city to the south and providing considerable relief from the crippling and deadly traffic jams. But lack of funding has drawn construction of the bridge to a standstill, so the municipal government has come up with an alternative plan: to build split-level highways in 96 places around the city, in hopes of keeping the traffic moving. Mumbai Disconnected follows supporters and opponents of this project: a resident who is horrified by the building of the viaducts; a man who just wants to get to work every day, and sees a new car as the fulfilment of a lifetime ambition; and the vice president of the construction company that is erecting the bridge and the viaducts. Juxtaposition of these points of view creates an enlightening impression of an immense metropolis that is in danger of coming to a complete impasse because of conflicting interests.”

And the box blurb: Like a city on steroids, Mumbai is rapidly becoming one of the world’s biggest megacities. But it’s all happening on a narrow peninsula with an infrastructure on the verge of complete collapse. Every day, 10-12 people die from falling off the overcrowded public trains. On the roads, cars come to a stand-still in serial traffic jams. To make matters worse, the Nano, India’s new popular and affordable mini car, has just been launched. Through three interwoven human stories, we meet the people at the frontline of Mumbai’s infrastructural battle. One thing is certain: urban planning is not easy in the world’s largest democracy!

There was some humour in this ultimately sad and globally frightening tale. We could relate with the whole job responsibility issue. They’re trying to build a bridge and they’ve run out of money to finish it–shot pans to guys hand carving leaves into a couple of the piers that have been built!

mumbai disconnected

Priorities people! Ah we can relate to that!

One *humorous* segment in the movie:  The world bank has said that mature trees must be saved and relocated as part of their road funding. Guy goes to check on success of the replanting efforts. These are huge trees. Guys are ripping them out and driving them somewhere. Guy goes out to the place where the trees are replanted. Ok, so says here you have 64 trees. So, where are they? They count up and find that there are 34 trees planted (and most are dead). How do you “lose” 30 huge trees? Uh?? So many levels of accountability and some guys just figure hey let’s just keep on driving. We can sell these for firewood or whatever. Whoosh. Trees are gone! And in Mumbai–they left at .15 miles per hour. The supervisor guy is freaking out. Kind of like my cable guy. Speaking of whom, I’m so curious to see if they’ve come out to “finish” their job this morning.

Ok so here’s a trailer to the broader series. There are pieces of the mumbai one interspersed throughout the trailer. It’s a pretty important and scary topic. Very depressing.


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