Sunday, July 10, 2005

Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan

Its not unusual for us to have our umbilical cords severed from our place of birth, and despite the best of standards of living anywhere in the world, the heart really calls just one place home, the place where you grow up. This may or may not be true for a lot of you, but definitely true for me, a hard core Bombayite. Having spent a good part of my childhood, schooling, and college years in Bombay, this is the only place in the world where I really feel at home. Despite my nomadic existence up to now which has taken me to Chennai Australia and all across the US, Bombay still enthralls me like no other place. People tend to have highly polarized views about this great metropolis, either loving it dearly or despising it heartily cus there is no middle ground when it comes to Bombay.

I have been reflecting on my perceptions of the city, and the reasons why the city still captures my imagination and these are the images that flash across the edifices of my mind when I close my eyes to the thoughts of my city

· Trying to make into the 8:57, 2nd class compartment of Churchgate fast, and gain a foothold on the doorway and let the scents and the scenes of the city wash over you during the ride to Churchgate

· Soccer with the boys at Juhu beach during the monsoons followed by Irish coffee at Prithvi. Wading in knee deep waters during the monsoon without an umbrella with the rain pelting your soaked body into submission

·Watch the waves crash into the rocks at Nariman Point while munching on peanuts

·Vada Pav at Sri Krishna Dadar , Pav Bhaji at Canon, Dabeli, Double Roti and Bhel puri at Charni Road, Pan from Muchhad, cold LP 5000 at Café Regal followed by Baida Roti and kebabs at Bade Miya.

·Sip on Gola Sherbat while watching the boys practice cricket at Azad Maidan

·Sleepy Parsi colonys on hot summer afternoons and not a soul is stirring

·Sipping juice at the Haji Ali Juice Center while watching the sun set behind Haji Ali

·Watch children play and lovers neck in those impossible cramped patches of shrubbery they call gardens

·Chappan Bhog Bengali sweets

·Ogle at the belles cavorting at Bandstand

·Gape at the magnificent view of the city from the viewing spot at Hanging Gardens

·Stand about 100 feet away and watch the majestic Victoria Terminus station and the bevy of activity emanating from this behemoth

·Watch sunrise with the joggers, walkers and the ‘Laughers Club’ at Juhu beach

·Chilled beer at The Taj while looking over the Gateway of India

·Watch the taporis dance with abject abandon on the streets during a wedding procession or Ganesh Chaturthi

·The crassness but still creatively ingenious idols during Ganesh Chaturthi. The masses at Juhu beach during the immersion of the Ganesh idols

·Slums around the airport when the plane touches down or takes off

·Savouring Udupi delicacies at Status restaurant, Nariman Point

·Watch Sachin Tendulkar live at the Wankhede, demolish the Aussies or the Pakistanis

·Absolute sincerity and conviction on the faces of the devotees at Siddhi Vinayak, Mahalaxmi temple, Mahim Church or Haji Ali

·Novena at the Mount Mary’s church, Bandra and attend a catholic wedding

·Watch the ‘Govinda Pyramids’ build human pyramids 20-30 feet tall during Janmasthami

·Revel in the color on the streets of Bombay during Holi

·Bheja Fry, Maska pau, pudding and chai at any Irani restaurant

·Stand and listen to a group listening to a cricket commentary when India is playing

·Feed the pigeons at Kabutarkhana or Gateway of India

·Watch the multitudes shopping at Linking Road, Chor Bazar or Zaveri Bazaar

·Listen to the crackers go all night during Diwali standing on your terrace

·Visit a temple early mornings on Diwali. People come decked in their very best

These are some of my reflections of my city, a city where though I was not born, but by all means I call home, a city to which several epics and ballads have been composed by the well known and not so well known, a city where I go back to the days of my youth and childhood, to warm happy memories, where I hope someday in the distant future, I bid adieu to life during a sunny warm Indian summer.


Blogger nomadic_waves said...

Mmmm...mumbai sprang out of the dark recesses of my mind..u painted a mellow yet lively image of a city that pulsates with life.

11:38 AM  
Blogger chappan said...

Thank you. Check out Suketu Mehta's, Maximum City, Bombay: Lost and found for the epic masterpiece. One of the best books that I have read in recent times.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Charu said...

yes,yes, all of them - and eating bhutta on marine drive in the rains...

lovely post
(but I can see an error message on this post in front of each point)

10:13 PM  
Blogger Heh Heh said...

buying used books at the footpaths around Fountain.. (someone tells me they have shut them down now)

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Kavitar said...

Ya once a Mumbaiya, always a Mumbaiya. Jeena Yaha Marna Yaha iske siwa jana kaha....

4:01 AM  
Blogger nomadic_waves said...

Chappan-->Herez a lady like bow for havin' visited my Kingdom.

And yes,Relief was NOT provided to the SCs during the Tsunami outburst in Nagapattinum & since our Government has a tendency to brush such things under the carpet,no wonder very few people know about it.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Anshul said...

Wonderful yaar. Your visions of my good old city are a poignant reminder of the pulse of Aamchi Mumbai.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Anshul said...

Though I'm not a Mumbayite, yet I liked the way you depicted a sattelite view of this city.

8:51 AM  

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