Monday, December 27, 2004

Bombay or Slumbay

Adman Prahlad Kakkar thinks if something is not done about the slum dwellers Bombay will soon be Slumbay. And it really is one big massive slum. Why can't a city which claims to have so much heart, such active and involved citizens, keep their environment clean? While I was visiting Mumbai recently and walking with a friend at the beautiful promenade at Bandstand, we were ticked off by a regular for walking on the wrong side of the road. 'Could you please walk on the left? Because that's how it's done' he told us. Wanted to shout back Bridget Jones style and tell him 'Oh, educate us please we're from Delhi, and there they don't teach you how to walk'. Also wanted to add that we have Lodhi Gardens and plenty more prettier walking spaces. Anyway... So coming back to the point, a city that's throbbing with creative people, creative jucies, should surely be cleaner. I can't imagine active fresh minds working hard in the midst of such dirt. I mean, what does it take to sweep common areas in a building? Whoever I've said this to thinks I'm nuts, and I'm contantly told 'but what do you you have to do with the common areas?' Now isn't this just so stupid? I have to walk in and out of those common areas every day; those common areas lead up to the space I will eventually call home. I understand that the outside of the bulding gets dirty because of the monsoon and 'saline content in the air' and also that since most of the owners don't live in those flats they don't really give a damn if a white building has turned grey or black or whatever. And that they won't spend a buck to either make the exterior butch stone or red stone which doesn't require painting... I can also see all of Mumbai telling me 'if you have such a problem, why are you coming here'. Then, on the other hand, I also see people in Delhi looking at me and thinking 'wow how lucky, you're going to freedom. From unsafe roads, from the fear of rapes (over 500 this year) from the need to be back home by 10, from tons of relatives and people knowing you at every other nook and corner, from autowallahas that are rude, dont agree to go, and overcharge, from public transport that sucks, from an attitude of 'where do you live, oh! Rohini, how LS! And what car do you drive?', from a city where summer sucks, saps you of energy and from a city that really has no better entertainment than a trip to a mall, a multiplex or simply to your couch. And from a city that hardly inspires any creative thinking. Think about the amount of fiction that has been written in recent times with Bombay as the city in the background; think of the number of films made with Mumbai as a major setting (and not only because of the location)... then think Delhi. Not coffee table books but books on the city. Maximum City, Love and Longing in Mumbai, Once Was Bombay, The Beauty of These Present Things.... the list is long. OK, I am not a traitor yet. This blog started with the good things about Delhi. The big, open roads, the big, open, clean, green houses, the warm hospitality, the 'i know your uncle and I am the neice of your aunt', the moving traffic, the twenty routes to one place etc...
So that's a start to my 'moving blog' and it will move with me through this phase of transition from one metro to another.

2 Comments:

Blogger writer-in-egg-style said...

Prahlad has a way with naming things---though it's like all his work: crafted to provoke a laugh and maybe something more.

Yeah, most of India's 'agent provocateurs' are in Bombay... the city with two 'B's, Brains and Balls.

Dilli, meanwhile, is the city with two 'I's.

May they both rock !!

28 December, 2004  
Blogger Kamakaze said...

You were a vistor this time. Once you start living in Mumbai, you will not talk about common spaces. There's no time to dwell upon common anything. It's you and your space that will keep you busy. Totally individualistic, the Maximum City brings the best in an individual and that's what makes it great. So don't walk on the right side, because that's somebody else's space. In Delhi everybody wants to encroach upon your anything, they let you be and do not let you encroach upon what's theirs.
The sea is great for your eyes, but your nose will give up. You will be rid of all acidity-related medical problems but you will crash once every fortnight. Bombay has so much energy because it saps you of yours.
Happy Living In Bombay, Now you are a Delhi Writer in Exile!

29 December, 2004  

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