Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Oh Bombay !

This Navratri marks the seventh anniversary of my moving to Bombay. And strangely enough, the eleventh anniversary of my first sight of it.

My aching bones keeps reminding me of the daily marathon that passes for life in this city.

Seven Years. God !

The wide-eyed kid who mistook Thane Creek for the sea, Crawford Market for Dadar and Hotel Majestic at VT for Bombay's equivalent of New Cathay Restaurant is still there somewhere. The one which has still not grown indifferent to staggering contradictions which Bombay exposes you to everyday.

The slums faithfully bordering every posh locality ... the maid whipping out a mobile phone to pacify the next household ... the neighbourhood Udipi menu with a Continental section ... people distributing biscuits to mildly irritated passengers stuck on the roads ... Cosmopolitan Page 3 parties attracting Shiv Sena functionaries ... share markets and cricket being discussed on the trains on the very next day of the bombing.

To an outsider (and I am one, in spite of all the pretense) its almost amusing. How its proud denizens keep comparing Bombay with New York. The way they excuse crumbling infrastructure, increasing apathy of the legislature, parallel economy run in parts by the mafia/builders/politicians. How the "Spirit" of Bombay is invoked in every calamity which befalls it.

However, sometimes Bombay chills you to the bone. Sometimes, the city's friendly facade peels off to reveal the rot within. Like long suppressed streaks of madness, it bursts forth in a torrent. In those sudden xenophobic comments from your sophisticated friends, the sudden rudeness from the friendly cabbie, those angry faces staring at you and not moving an inch when you want to get down from the train.

It makes me wonder whether I would die in this city. After all, how hard can it be?

What they tell you is that Bombay is great because it gives you the freedom to be what you are. What they don't tell you is nobody gives a damn what you are.


Dipta Chaudhuri said...

"What they tell you is that Bombay is great because it gives you the freedom to be what you are. What they don't tell you is nobody gives a damn what you are."

Waah waah... this has got to be the absolute bestest line I have read/heard about Bombay.

Brilliant, brilliant!

Anonymous said...

nobody gives a damn who you are... this is the absolute fucking truth! Though instead of making me sad and disillusioned, it justifies every deed i have done in my life... nobody can care about me as much as me...

Brilliant fucking brilliant post man...


Prometheus_Unbound said...

Yes, the best part of Mumbai is annonimity.

Quicksilver! said...

Brill Post!
You’ve condensed the essence of my city so beautifully, and differently. I guess sometimes it takes an outsider to show us what we’ve been looking away from for so long.