Life plays funny games with me, sometimes. This morning I went to do my customary routine of opening the front door and placing the trash outside the door to be collected by the lady who gets our garbage daily. I went to open the big metallic grills that I close every night before going to bed. These grills act like a double door to enhance safety measures for the house. And lo and behold! I inserted the key into this brass padlock, and like magic, the lock’s spring broke and the damn thing would not open.
I have the good fortune of having kind and helpful next door neighbors, who I called up and they came to the front door and saw my plight. The watch man was ushered to the scene and was asked to call the locksmith. So off he went to the train station (a 5 minute jaunt from my house) and found that the locksmith was not there, but procured his cellular number for me from the neighboring shop. He rushed back and decided to try and break the lock by using a hammer and chisel. Yes, a hammer and chisel he used to work away at the brass lock which did not seem to budge. Another guy who happened to be hanging out in the building also decided to chime in and, through sweat and toil, was half way through breaking the lock. In the meantime, the impatient imp that I am, I was able to get in touch with the locksmith who said he would be there ASAP.
My friend (who also happens to be my neighbor), who yesterday made the comment about my incessant bitching about Mumbai, happened to get out of his house around the same time. And boy oh boy, the look he had on his face was priceless. He told me, “This is what you get for bitching about Mumbai – House arrest.” I had a good laugh, because in many ways it felt true. I was literally, for about 2 hours, incapable of getting out of my own home. It was hilarious.
Here is the picture of the locksmith and the big, jazzy grills that are meant to intimidate people who wanna try to break in:
This 2 hour production had a happy ending and I was able to open up the gates, even though I had no where to go. Just the idea of being locked in your own home, involuntarily, was a very bizarre feeling. But, this whole episode made me think and realize that people in Mumbai are helpful. They will take time and help you out, even if they do not know you (like the man who was randomly in the building). There is an unspoken kindness that gets camouflaged, and sometimes even lost, in the everyday hustle and bustle of life in this overpopulated metropolis. This makes me hopeful and I have a new found appreciation for the denizens of Mumbai, something I did not think I would have so soon.