Poetry In Bombay
Do you believe in love at first sight? Cause if you do, you will never love this city. This city is not love at first sight. I mean what do you even end up loving if that was the case? The traffic jams with a special offer: get stuck in traffic jam and find yourself accompanied with one little beggar kid knocking on your window- absolutely free! And let me not get started on the background music of all the honking and screaming. Maybe, you end up loving the crowds, I assume you are a people’s person, boss you better be a people’s person if you are coming to Bombay otherwise I think your better off in Deolali. Maybe you enjoy the heat, sweaty noses; foreheads, necks, fingers, backs, tummies, bums and armpits get you off. This is everybody’s first impression of this city. There are various attributes that one can fall in love with but shock value is definitely not one of them and this city is high on Shock Value. I’m not against Bombay. Every city has positive and negative aspects. Bombay fascinated me, which is why I came here in the first place. And not just me, its fascinated so many people from all over the world from Salman Rushdie to Chetan Bhagat. The first place I visited in Mumbai was Café Leopold thanks to Shantaram. And I wasn’t the only one. I had read so much about it, it’s as if I already knew the city. I wonder why and how these authors be it Suketu Mehta who captured the core of the city without singing its praises (oh sorry he did praise the Kala Khatta Gola near VT station) in Maximum City, Gyan Prakash who described the city as ‘a state of mind’ in his hard hitting, not so Fable-y Mumbai Fables, S.H. Zaidi who owes his fame to Anurag Kashyap or wait is it the other way around (remember Black Friday?) find poetry in the most charmless places of Bombay City. This is what literature has made Bombay, no doubt its symbolic, its insightful. It’s also depressing, more depressing than watching 6 hours of Times Now at a stretch. There’s more to Mumbai than the sleazy underworld, corrupt administrators, murderous husbands, slum dog millionaires and bar dancer wives and a wave of socio political issues. I believe somewhere there is a fairy dust that is constantly sprinkled over this city that makes everyday life here a lot more magical than it looks. Oh how else do you explain Juhu Beach on a Sunday evening? I mean have you ever been to Juhu Beach on a Sunday Evening? The place is filled with like the entire population of Somalia and the entire population of Somalia seems to be having a blast wandering around aimlessly carrying a balloon/ eating a gola/ romancing their better halves/ some kids getting separated from their parents and the other making sand castles with theirs. How else do you explain a super deluxe five star rising between a slum, a Lamborghini parked on a road behind a truck (Horn Ok Please) and a marriage hall located beside a crematorium? How else do you explain the 200 year old Victorian Houses tucked away in Bandra and the posh residencies in South Bombay. The 12-15 gardens near Dadar Matunga and the ‘India ka World Famous’ Dharavi. The Vada Pao wala (who gives free red powder) right outside a fine dining restaurant. The home delivered alcohol and fresh fish and the pirated DVD bootleggers. Aurora Theatre Screens Mission Impossible 4 to Tamil films to Salman Khan. Everything exists here. I was forced to leave this city way too often but I didn’t. There is nothing like Love at first sight in this city. You need to live here, you need to appreciate this city, get into the groove and soon enough, you will find poetry anywhere and everywhere. And if not poetry you will feel that this city moves to some kind of a soundtrack, even if it’s the latest Himesh Song that yout Taxi walla is playing at full volume.