Monday, April 24, 2006

Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram

Can't believe I'm packing my bags yet again, relocating across countries for the second time in four months. Tonight is my flight to Hong Kong, just a few hours to go, and it has finally begun to sink in.

My mind has begun to list out things that I will miss, which is a rather long series, ranging from street cats that spring up in various nooks and corners and garbage cans of Bombay to commanding buildings that have kept their backs erect despite bad maintenance and ravaging years. It's a beautiful city, Bombay.

Did you squirm at me calling Bombay pretty? But I really do think so. It gives me so many reasons to smile. I'll be walking down some road, and if some cricket match is taking place that day (which it so often is) I am bound to discover some new obsessive taxi driver shouting out the score across the road for joy as he stands by his parked taxi. And though he's not aware of me presence, and not shouting out for my benefit at all, it just gives me a strange feeling and my head tells me, like that song, "This happens only in India". I just feel anew that, yes, I am back home. And suddenly, drab walls no longer look like brown, unpainted houses. Instead I wonder how old these places must be. As my cab travels over the JJ flyover, I find the journey picturesque as I spy the gleaming mosques in the middle of huddled tenemants. There is somehow, something romantic in the disparity of the spaces we live in, in the people that we are all together, on the things that bind us despite all the separations that we stay with.

There is something so beautiful about Bombay.

Something enticing, even in the tacky ads painted behind buses.

Something rusticly funny, funny enough to have infested T-shirts, in the shayri written with paint on rickshaws and trucks. 48 phoolon ki 96 mala; buri nazar waale thera moonh kala.

Yes I love Bombay
I have loved it since my first month here, when I first saw cats and dogs, predators and prey, skirmishing through the same rubbish pile by a building at Churchgate. I loved the way the cat just swished a contemptuous tail on the side when some dog decided to create a ruckus in the background.

That's the light I've since seen Bombay in - a place egalitarian at heart.

Where you don't need to sit in a fine restaurant and order one coffee after another to see the sun set against the sea. (In fact, chana at Marine drive would give a better view.)

Where Steven Freakonomist Levitt is available from anything between 100 rupees and 750 rupees, depending on where you buy it from.

Where managers and labourers travel stuffed together in the same local train.

Where everyone's called 'Boss'.

Which is why, I'll be back
Coz I'm in love


Bella Jay said...

wow. thats just really boring if i say so myself. blogs r about funny feelings and happenings. don't b afraid 2 express urself even if it doesn't sound prim and proper.

acetrump said...

HK is Mumbai's chinese sister. It'll keep u in the mumbaiya spirit any which ways.

babblezone said...

I know what you mean Anu.. feel the same way :))

So are we having an affair with the same city then?? MEEEOOOOWWW!


Quicksilver! said...

Lovely!And so true!
But then, I am partial to anything written well about my beloved city!;)