Is Mumbai the modern day Draupadi?

Draupadi is the most complex and controversial female character in Mahabharata and perhaps one of the most enigmatic female characters in any mythological book ever written. Long back, I read this beautiful poem called “Kurukshetra”, written by Amreeta Syam, which conveys her angst in the most elegant manner.

“Draupadi has five husbands – but she has none –
She had five sons – and was never a mother …
The Pandavas have given Draupadi …
No joy, no sense of victory
No honor as wife
No respect as mother –
Only the status of a Queen …
But they all have gone
And I’m left with a lifeless jewel
And an empty crown …
My baffled motherhood
Wrings its hands and strives to weep”.

Now you would think, why am I comparing Mumbai to Draupadi – what is so common between them? And I will tell you that if you closely examine there runs a parallel between the two personas. Here I treat Mumbai not as an object but a thing full of life.

Mumbai, like Draupadi, has to play so many bridal roles. Just like Draupadi played a different role with each of her five husbands, so does Mumbai. Firstly, it acts the financial hub of India. In her second role, she acts as the state capital to Maharastra. Then it is also serves as the 70MM capital or Bollywood (Maya-Nagari), as a few call it. In her fourth role, she is the corporate czarina of India. Every corporate wants to have a piece of her or rather have a presence in Mumbai. In her last role, she is the dream city for all commoners like me who make a living and dare to dream big under her celestial sky.

Mahabharata says that Draupadi’s unparalleled beauty and intelligence becomes the cause of her misery. She is charmed by Arjuna, the winner of the archery contest, set for her hand but she is bundled off by her father as the bride of all the five Pandavas on the advice of sage Vyasa. Her cruel fate divides her as a possession among five husbands and cuts up her personality.

Just like her, Mumbai performs to each of our expectations time and again. And it is this charm of hers that is causing her so much misery and grief. Everyone wants to own a piece of her.  And those who cannot get her, wants to destroy her.

Time and again, Mumbai has been the cynosure for terrorists and their acts of terrorism. And time and again, we keep on hearing about the Spirit of Mumbai. I want to say, that’s enough. Mumbai does not deserve so much of pain and tragedy. Just like in Mahabharata, the seeds of the holy war between the Pandavas and Kauravas were planted at the game of dice and the insult of Draupadi in front of all the courtiers. And it was Lord Krishna, who came that time to save her. It is time for Mumbai to invoke her Lord Krishna. Maybe, a Batman would also do to protect her, just as he protects Gotham City from all evils.

It is time, Mumbai gets her Batman. No more insults on her, no more terrorists attack. It is time to ACT, than RE-ACT!



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