I don’t know if it’s just me, or does everyone else also fall in love with the city of Bombay, once they go there?
I am one of the staunch supporters of Bombay who refuse to call it Mumbai, the Shiv Sena, MNS etc etc be damned (the same way I’ll never call Calcutta Kolkata and Chennai is still in its heart Madras, but I deviate here) So moving back to Bombay, there is something about that city – its people, its places, its energy- that draws us in into its web!
I’m not sure what makes the Maximum City so attractive to me! After all, I am a true Chennai-ite, who goes around blowing Chennai’s trumpet loudly to everyone who cares to listen (and those who don’t), and yet I have in me a deep love and respect for Bombay! I look forward to all my trips there with a “counting down the days in your calendar” excitement. I have a million beautiful memories in that city and I can never enough of it!
Maybe it’s because Bombay represents shining lights and opportunities, the glories, the dreams and the heart break of a million people. Maybe it has something to do with the history – the Marathas whose “never say die” spirit still flutters strong in the hearts of the people. Or maybe it’s the modernity of Bombay – its Ambani’s and Tata’s. Its aggressive speed and how lives can change lightning fast in that city.
Maybe it’s the mystery of Old Bombay, its gulley’s and chowks and old world innocence! Maybe its the lack of it, the wide open criminal world, the red light areas, the sleaze, the foulness. Or maybe its about the New World attitude of the new Bombay, of people with big dreams in small houses. Maybe it’s the glittering face of Bollywood, of money, dreams, glamour and corruption.
Maybe it’s the Leopold’s and Mondegars and the chaacha’s who sell chai and kebab on street corners. Or maybe it’s about sitting at Nariman Point and watching the sun dip into the glorious sea. Or it’s walking down the Colaba Causeway looking at the beads and baubles for sale. Maybe it’s to do with being crushed by a million commuters in the Metro all of whom are in a perpetual hurry.
Maybe it’s the indomitable spirit of the 14 million who call it home, and the way they can pick up their lives and move on in the face of trouble and hard times. Maybe it’s the fact the city has risen like a phoenix from the ashes and rubble of bomb blasts and gang wars.
It may be all of these; it may be none of these. But whatever it is, its spirit lives on. Alive, pulsing, throbbing, and dynamic!