Bombay, Mumbai and me

There were many journeys I took. Most were limited to the geography of the city I grew up in. But I consider them journeys never the less today. I have been so bound by the notion and desire to travel the world (I still do as I write this), but have a sense that whatever the journey maybe, however small the distance maybe, each moment is a journey. Each time I step out of my home, it is on a rendezvous. Life is just so unpredictable isn�t it? There is much I have learnt and experienced in these limited travels within Bombay but somehow I never felt the urge to document all that I experienced. I loved the crowds, always loved writing in the stations, but I never documented those stories. Maybe its time I began telling people about my city of dreams and the city of disillusionment that takes all in its womb.

Shiv Sena wants to stop more people from coming to settle there. There might be some logic to what they say about people living in it from years not having the opportunities and facilities without others compounding to their problem, but I fail to see it. Take the people out of Bombay and what you have is a glittering stone with an empty inside, like the dance bar girls. Full of smiles and sex, dazzlingly all with their make-ups but carrying home with them empty minds and wasted bodies, the woman in them forgotten.

No one owns Mumbai, the city is larger than political might and social ire. Bombay may be Mumbai now, but all mumbaikars are Bombayiets. Everyday the new gets bsorbed into the old and you cannot then differentiate between the two. This city is the epitome of life with the good, bad, ugly and beautiful all woven into its social fiber. Everything co-exists here, the slums and the high-rises, the multiplexes and the sleazy theaters that survive on the moaning C �Grade Indian porn, 5 star hotels and roadside pani-puri stalls, the chic convents and street schools, the fashion streets and shopper stops. True-blue Bombayites don�t differentiate between the two and are equally comfortable everywhere.

Me, I was a middle-class gal, who loved shopping at Lifestyle but had to actually buy my stuff in fashion Street, who loved eating at Bombay Blue but went bersek at Flora Fountain�s vada pav�s and who traveled to amchi matheran on vacations sitting in the floor of the train with friends sipping coke and laughing at the latest episode of friends, sharing the biscuit with the kids who came to sweep the train. Something tells me thats the way I�ll remain till I die, true blue bombayite. Marriage took me away from Bombay but you surely cant take Bombay out of me.

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