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Bombay or Mumbai?(a draft in progress)

19 January 2011 One Comment

The image of Bombay or Mumbai- what do we prefer? What kind of stories do we tell about them?

Why do i still refer to this city as Bombay? Because that is how I know it and will also know it. It conjures up images of the summer vacation I would take with my family into the city during the pouring months of July and August. We would land in the middle of the night and uncle and cousins would be there to recieve us. The night we would head to the chinese restaurant by gateway and eventually gorge on dollops ice cream adoring the Taj. It meant fully-loaded fun and sundays of ironman and mahabharata. The mewad ice-cream, pani puri and the shit downloaded right there.The ride on the humps of the camel at Juhu beach and high rides of esselworld-the amusement park.

It was unfathomable why people would beg, sleep under an open sky or why children didn’t have food to eat. And then, watch how the city would creatively find ways to hide them and build a turf high enough to shield them out of sight. We would mutter “oh, we need to get rid of them” and then, not think about where they possibly go.

We have our share of riots and bomb blasts with those unfortunately unfortunate stuck in the middle: we rival any big city, noone can take us on. And then, Bombay has the capacity to wake up the next day, walk to work and earn its daily roti. Its ‘systemic chaos’ provides maximum drive.

Yea, this is Bombay with our dreams in the sky and hope in the trees. We care a little less as well.

Mumbai to me is just something I write on an envelope to ensure that my mail goes through into the city. It is what I am forced to type for my airline ticket or so that google can direct me well. Its not a city to me, but just letters that have form and shape on paper, taking up space in the void.


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One Response to "Bombay or Mumbai?(a draft in progress)"

  1. Vijay says:

    Reminds me of what someone said, “Chennai is a place. Madras is a feeling.”; a succinct form of what you’ve said about Mumbai/Bombay.

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