Monday, October 09, 2006

Oh Bombay - III

Some find their Bombay in the wide sweep of Marine Drive. In the white-capped waves breaking against the concrete wall. The stillness of the sombre grey skies before the onset of a paricularly harsh downpour. In the breeze carrying the scent of the sea from far-away lands. The weather-beaten face of the buildings facing the sea. In the glitter of the Queen's Necklace in the evening. The glitzy heights of Oberoi's standing like a sentry at land's end. In the smell of fresh dough wafting through the rooms of Pizzeria. The moss-coloured stone facade of Wilson's college, seeped in history.

For some, Bombay catches the local train from Charni Road station every weekday. Brandishing either their "Bhav Copy" or "Mid-Day" they chatter endlessly about myriad things : the "tezi" stocks which are going to give 200% returns over the next month, urban myths about how Vinod was always a better bat than the great Sachin, how the ban on dance bars have affected the bottom lines of police officers, the decline of the diamond cutting / polishing industry in Surat etc. etc. Some distribute the forgotten tiffin their wives had faithfully packed, some just hang on for dear life as the Dadar human wave comes crashing down.

Some see Bombay written in bold letters on the faces of children on street corners selling pirated copies of the latest bestsellers. They can forget anything while watching them recommend "How Opal Mehta ..." as "yeh kitaab leke bahut maarpit hua, saab". Or chasing the cars over signals over a copy of the "The Argumentative Indian". Some find a typical Bombay way of getting rid off them, by pretending that they don't exist. Some find solace in their annual contributions to CRY, some avoid their eager eyes in shame.

Some still fondly think of Bombay as a teenager, never minding their actual age. The ones in their black Metallica T-shirts who assemble at Marine Lines station before Indy Rock. The ones who have to get hopelessly drunk at Sunlight Bar and Restaurant before they can search for the meaning of life in hastily rolled joints. They never notice how Bombay rolls off as sweat from their brows in the middle of crazy lights and headbanging. Sometimes Bombay stares at their faces from the puddle of puke which they produce in one of the gallis near Bade Miyan after a particularly unadvisable dinner.

Some dig for their version of Bombay in New Link Road and Lokhandwala. Where dug-out earth gets magically transformed into shining multiplexes and glass-faced shopping arcades in Bombay's very own version of gold rush. Some seek Bombay in those pothole filled roads strewn with building material. Some take the constant buzz of construction around them as the anthem of a city running desperately to stay at the same place. Some search for Bombay's reflection in the blank stares on those wannabe models frequenting the numerous eating joints.

Bombay's heart lives in a quiet Juhu bungalow called Prateeksha, for some diehards. The same ones who magically appear at the first hint of a dark tinted glass SUV leaving the gates for the daily visit to studios. The occupant with the salt and pepper designer stubble is still mentally classified as Vijay by some of people chasing behind. So what if he is going for the shooting of a Navratna Tel ad, in their minds he is still bashing up Amjad Khan. Sometimes, they get a roll-down of the window and a wave. In Bombay, sweet dreams are made of these.

So, where’s your Bombay tonight?


Anonymous said...

You're on a roll man... another brillinat bombay post... you are now officially declared an honorary mumbaikar... LOL...

But seriously man... awesome stuff... really awesome...

I think you shud do a story set in mumbai with all your keen observations...


Dipta Chaudhuri said...

For the Kanpur teenager, Himesh Reshamiyya is Bombay.
For the Ajmer housewife, Smriti Irani is Bombay.
For the Paharganj trader, Dhirubhai Ambani is Bombay.
For the LeT fidayeen in Gilgit, the 6:17 local is Bombay.

And even as the inhabitant of Pratiksha goes from beating Gabbar to being Gabbar, the Bombay dreams live on.

Brilliant post.

Anonymous said...

Kya boss tum to ekdum chabuk hai !!

sacvee said...

Gosh.. I didnt realize I missed Bombay so much.. the million pieces of Bombay that are baked into me.. just woke up for a moment.. thats great writing.. thx..

Prometheus_Unbound said...

Nice post. Came across it in office. Will come back in the evening for a full read.

Especially when I am planning to return to Mumbai after a year long hiatus, your post brings back memories of the Lady.

Anonymous said...

really good stuff man .. keep ıt goıng


Prometheus_Unbound said...

Bilkul Solid Bhidu

devika said...

kickass - i was smiling thruout - full brilliant dude - bhalo!

OrangeJammies said...

absobloodylutely amazing!!!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting-and makes me nostalgic about the 2 years I spent there:)

You really in love with the place aren't you?
Where's your Bombay though?


Aqua said...

brilliant post and equally brilliant comment by dipta

you should write a book. seriously!

kaushik said...

For someone who likes Bombay only as a tourist and a traveller this post really touched a chord.

At times I have found some folks trying to overown Bombay. The moment they reach they start talking about the city as if trying to seduce the city into liking them.

I also ponder on the need for people to cry out about the never dying spirit of the city. I find that disrespect for denizens of other cities of India.

And I always wonder if Bombay would have Bombay if 3 things were never there

1. Bollywood
2. The Stock Exchange
3. The Sea