New York, N.Y.: What should be an appropriate response by the average man on the street in Mumbai?
Suketu Mehta: The great thing about Bombay is its open, generous heart. I wrote in my book about the 'hands from the trains':
"If you are late for work in Mumbai and reach the station just as the train is leaving the platform, don't despair. You can run up to the packed compartments and find many hands unfolding like petals to pull you on board. And while you will probably have to hang on to the door frame with your fingertips, you are still grateful for the empathy of your fellow passengers, already packed tighter than cattle, their shirts drenched with sweat in the badly ventilated compartment. They know that your boss might yell at you or cut your pay if you miss this train. And at the moment of contact, they do not know if the hand reaching for theirs belongs to a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian or a Brahmin or an Untouchable. Come on board, they say. We'll adjust."
I hope – I know – that this spirit will endure. Bombay will adjust. Thank you.