Thursday, July 17, 2008
Something i wrote a long while ago...i dint finish it then and i cant now, so here it is
Mumbai. Home to 10 million. City of dreams. City of seven islands. A place where money, fame and power entice millions, food, clothing and shelter entice a million more. Long beaches, rocky shores, thick forests all amidst an urban sprawl, ever alive, ever changing, always evolving. Primal human instincts clash with sophistry, bai’s rub shoulders with the jet-set. To an outsider it is a great city, with tall buildings, wide boulevards and magnificent views, to the insider it is much more; albeit the potholes and slums, and ganglords and the crowds, bollywood and residential sprawls; it is home.
Even a thousand visits will not rub the grandeur felt on glimpsing the sea; a presence so vital to the city. Omnipresent, enveloping the city in its salty shrouds, the ancient waters yielding fish and oil. Beaches full of tourists and weary denizens, rocky outcrops of land bursting at the seams with skyscrapers; gravity defying bridges cutting across earth and water, long forgotten creeks winding sinuously, teeming with smuggled goods, a large harbour full of the world's wares. To the north lies another vital aspect of the city; its lungs. A wild forest, tame yet primal. derelict ruins, caves with ancient pigments, scattered villages of tribals collecting honey and bark. Mountains, waterfalls, cascades and sinister lurking animals. Panthers and leopards, often victims of fast vehicles when they stray into the highways surrounding the forest. The stillness of the forest is only broken by a meteorological station and an air base well hidden from the masses. A green canopy, dark. Silent. Strong. Sinister. Hiding secrets since ages. Surrounded by suburbs.
But any description of the city would be incomplete without the suburbs. Vast. Sprawling. Teeming with life. By day an exodus of people readies to leave downtown, and at evening the same exodus returns. Buses, Trains, Cars all rushing at breakneck speed, heading ever northwards to the ubiquitous home. The seventies saw the rise of most of these communities, the eighties their peopling and the nineties their development. It was this age that brought schools, hospitals and markets to these sprawling communities. The new millennium ushered in a new lease of life for these places. Now these are literally sub-urban centers. With the glitziest malls, swankiest office complexes and multitudes of night-life, property rates have risen tenfold, slowly edging downtown, quite literally out of the map.
Some cities are hot, some cold. Mumbai has its rain. For four months between June and September, the city sees rainfall like nowhere else in the world. Not for Mumbai the many varied splendour of an Indian monsoon. It simply pours. Dense rain. Bone-wetting rain. Imagine an island, being flushed out of existence. With the seas in high tide, streets become sewers and hope literally floats. Raindrops physically puncture, and gloomy overcast skies predominate.