noname.jpgThe city where everyone has his/her place, whether it be on the pavement or on the 20th floor of a posh apartment complex, and is almost inevitable, like parts of a machine. Where everybody is up to something, be it the beggar on the pavement, the executive hurrying to catch his train, the millionaire at the backseat of the Mercedes, the street vendor, the hooker on the street, the small fly on the ripe jackfruit on the pavement, the small rat that suddenly appears next to you on the railway platform, all equally and integrally part of the city of dreams… and all their dreams, equally part of the inimitable Mumbai meri jaan, equally part of the gross asymmetry, equally part of the sin called the rich and the poor. Part of the ultimate co-existence.

When you travel on the local train in Mumbai you feel the pulse of the city. You become a part of it, in someway, and u feel it. You feel life like you never felt it before, u see life like you have never seen it before. The vigorousness can only be felt and not put into words, I have to confess. You see the same set of people, almost always seated at the same seats, talking to, nodding and grinning at the same group of people until a new face joins and becomes welcomed heartily into the group, the group of cheerful guys singing in the next compartment (sometimes you know which song they are going to sing next), the pretty girl who gets in from kurla, the girl who cant keep her mouth shut, the girl who gets in from wadala and wears nice salwars, the guy who is always looking at you and trying to steal a quick glance from you… and once you get down and start walking down the platform, you see the same faces everyday at the very same spots, the crippled boy in school uniform with his school bag, moving slowly along the platform being led by his dad (you suppose) holding his hand…the tall girl with short hair always talking on her mobile…. And so on… Your life revolves around these routine encounters and the same old strangers, yet so much part of your life.

Once you reach office it’s a totally different world, it’s a to z about hard work and, money almost never comes easily – work your ass off from morning till evening and then finally just let your hair down when you are with your best buddies partying hard through the night, gulping shot after shot down the throat..!and of course you could never forget those nights at Leopold, the tipsy nights at Geoffrey’s and the ever so lovely walk along the marine drive…

Mumbai would never be the same without those heavy down pours, the only thing apart from bomb blasts that can bring life to a stand still here. You can never forget those nights when you get stranded in the station with no trains running, listening to the repeated announcements about ‘train radh kiya gaya hai…’ and apologies for the inconvenience and waiting to hear that rumbling from somewhere almost as if it were sweet melody…! But never even once would you start fearing because you are NEVER alone in your misery. There are always hundreds around you on even the least busy stations and people are ever so willing to help…more than in any place else, quite amazing when you think it’s one of the busiest cities on the map. Another incredible thing about the people is that they never say die! Their spirits never drop, not even at the drop of a bomb! The unfortunate train bombings couple of years back demonstrated the unbelievable courage of the people of Mumbai which you can see and feel just as you can feel the ground under your feet.

                                                           

And yes, inspite of all those tiring long train journeys, the humid weather, the heat, the crowd, the black puddles and the slush, and indefinite wait at the stations, catching the wrong train and going in the wrong direction at 10 o clock in the night, the stuffy cabs, the stinking roads… I miss Bombay!!!

  

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