Thursday, May 05, 2005

Bombay - Instant city

Maximum city. That's what Suketu Mehta called Bombay. Instant city is what I'd like to call it. Instant city. That's what Bombay is. Instant karma, instant gratification, instant sex, instant coffee. Time and tide (and the metaphor fits really well I must say) wait for no man. It's a new morning. I'm on my way to work. Every day, each and every day, I see the two cows, tied to the tree. Not just plain grazing cows. These are instant karma cows. There's a woman too. She sits with them, hell, she's their caretaker. Next to her, as she sits on a low-lying stool, her Maharashtrian sari tucked between her legs, is a basket of grass. Yes grass. I see a middle-gaed man give her some money and buy the grass she's flogging. His scooter is parked as he attempts to erase his karma, bad karma, and turn it into good karma. Some effing pandit somewhere -- in turn trying to change his own karma -- must have told him go feed the cows, grass, change your karma. So he's here. Scooter and all. On his way to work, he innocently parks by the side, pays some money and changes his karma. The f***** will still go back home, drink, abuse his wife, or maybe not even abuse her, but just be his regular boorish self, while she cleans and sweeps and swabs and plays mother and father to the children, he'll just go on wearing his chauvinism on his sleeve. But he'll feed the cows. Every Monday or Tuesday, he'll change his karma.
Instant gratification. Whichever way you want it. They're sitting in the fifth floor of her new flat. The containers haven't even been opened. The heat of the summer afternoon is filtering in through the windows, and the palm wilts in the sun. They feel like a Marlboro. Instant gratification. She picks up the mobile and presses the button. Home delivery. Five minutes later, he's there at the doorstep with their nicotine fix. Instant gratification. Better than a prolonged... well, never mind.
Instant everything, that's Bombay. Whatever your class, whatever your drug, this city has it. Just dial, or just call, or just look, or just ask, or just pay. And it's there. No one asks why, no one wants to know how and no one cares. As long as their salvation is instant.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So true

05 May, 2005  
Blogger writer-in-egg-style said...

Instant, instant, instant…

… sure is a funny ol’ world shaping up, the way so much of the vital has been reduced to the trivial and vice versa. The instant trend? It could see a reversal so long as people still think it worthwhile to THINK (the MR Coffee whiff-for-thought still lingers… even if the models used are seen plainly for what they were: tools of the trade subject to MR’s will). On this, any progress is good news.

There’s no template, though. If there’s no point forcing the pace one way or another, in matters so personal, there’s no point shoving anyone into a uniform. Forced conformity fails.

Loyalty, for example, is a complex concept that gets a raw either-or deal because people are often too lazy to think about the validity of the idealized norms made long ago.

06 May, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so true... so true

you forgot instant search like Google. can get gems of lyrics from 1977-78

06 May, 2005  
Anonymous udderubbish said...

Unforgettable BBC clip: everyone's favourite rustic politician with hairy ears, amid a Mother India type setting, says to Brit correspondent in intelligible English, "the cow is our mother" or "the mother is our cow" or some such

06 May, 2005  

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