Resilience: is it a virtue?

Mumbaikars are proud of their resilience

  • serial bomb blasts terrorize the city but they are up and about the following day, going about their business;
  • annually, rains flood their beloved city, making commutes tedious and dangerous for the common man while the local municipality does little to fix the root cause of this problem… but Mumbaiites are resilient, going about their daily life without uproar, taking the routine discomfort in their stride;
  • terrorists gun down scores of people in Bombay “Maximum City“, but ‘Bombay people’ are resilient – for them, life goes on;
  • inflation kills the man on the street, but Mumbaikars are silent on the subject only because they are brimming with resilience

But when I asked a friend last night on ‘chat’: “All well in colaba – back to normal?”, his response was:

“Colaba is okay back to normal…  As you know, poor Mumbaikars have no other option but to work and be on the move. Difficult to live in this city.”

“infact the country is in a mess the politicians have scxxxxd it up.”

“Roads, Rail, Crowd, slums, at least you don’t go thru the issues what we go thru”

“Everything is a bl…y problem. I am praying to God, that our kids don’t go thru this rut and find some better place to live and enjoy this beautiful life.”

“we are destined to live like this. “

“I have lost all the hopes of better India”

“Except for the culture and upbringing here nothing seems to work. Boss, apni Dharti and Motherland is all fine but if I don’t get to live like a normal human being what is the fun”

“I am sure you can never be comfortable in Mumbai. You can be okay if you have tons of money and then willing to ignore the corrupt officials and take life as it comes”

This morning, while reading Edward L. Glaeser’s blog, New York, New York: America’s resilient city, I couldn’t help but recall my chat.

The new year is just around the corner. Does ‘resilience‘ have a virtuous impact on different people across nations and across cities, or does it spell gloom for some, doom for others, but boom only for the chosen few?


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