Best things are kept for the last. Bombay will be the last metro I will be visiting in India.
On my visits to other three metros, I have had vivid and sometimes even terrible experiences. In Calcutta, (it was still Calcutta when I went there) I was “lost” twice, in fact thrice if you count that surreal metaphorical case. In Delhi, (They haven’t changed the name yet :P) similar to the India story, I was reborn with a promise of a new age and truly a dawn was being materialized in my life. In Madras/Chennai, due to the proximity and thereby my multiple visits, I have all sorts of memories in there, of being assaulted and of being acclaimed. Of being wet from sweat and wet from torrential rain. Of being numbed by the crowds and being alive among millions.
Bombay, holds an aura of its own in my mind, it is a labyrinth. The Bombayites (the auto-correct suggests bombsites. hmm!!!), now preferring the novel Mumbaikars are the only people who blemishes the aura by their non-sense. However, I do not want to belittle multitudes of Mumbaikars who made Bombay Bombay and sometimes even Mumbai. Bombay is a universe of its own, it ought to be just because of its sheer population. However, there is a comic sense of Bombay as well, their tryst with floods during monsoon, the overused word of “resilience”, the Marathi manoos, the Varadaraja Mudaliar, the cosmo Bombay, the Dharavi, the Juhu beach and what not.
I remember the plight of Mumbaikars abroad when they felt their city was being attacked during 26/11, at that time, someone even subtly corrected, its not their Bombay alone, but India as a whole was being attacked. Perspectives. These are the non-sense I was talking about, someone even called Bombay, The United States of Bombay. Acronym: USB.
Is there a point to my ramblings, Maaaaaay be..! I am leaving to Bombay tomorrow. That’s it. The Bombay which I know only from books, movies and people. Bombay is for many the greatest city in the world. For me its a kaleidoscope. Until now, before my debut visit, If I have to sum Bombay in one word, it would be that – A Kaleidoscope. There are three books for me personally which has made Bombay closer to me in my imaginations. Those being, Shantaram, Midnight’s children and Narcopolis. Two of them are epic in their own right and the third one begins and ends with the word Bombay.
Though, I am just going to Bombay as a mere starting point for a longer journey. Bombay would be there at the heart of it. Leopold’s, The Gateway of India, the Malabar hill and those seven islands which is Bombay are all there in popular culture and everyday lingo. I have even signed for a marathon in Bombay in January. Obviously I wanted my first Marathon to be big, and my options are very little for it to be big, may be NY and Chicago would have been other ‘big’ choices. Anyways, my training is in doldrums, I haven’t even run a half marathon in this training period. I haven’t even run anything more than a half marathon at all this year.
Never mind. This post is not about my running woes, but about Bombay. Thackeray is gone, and I am going to a place of mourning. Though I hate any kind of division, (ethnic, communal, religious, mathematical, pizza etc). Talk about setting of a stage, unlike Saleem Sinai, I don’t think I am in anyway related to that event.
Whatever, BOMBAY, here I come!!!
P.S: Looking forward to vada pav and eateries of Iranian origin.!!
And, yea The Land of Shivaji, the hero- btw a certain section of people from my state venerate him! Why? Foolish, you say! I say, No apparent reason is required for right-wingers!