March 23, 2023

Once was Bombay?

Scene : Juhu at 8 p.m. last friday – self with friend from Bangalore – trying to get a cab. As one cabbie after the other refused to take us – and were rude to top that – (as our destination was fairly close by) – my friend said, what is happening to bombay? I can’t believe this is Bombay!

What is happening to Bombay? This is the city that I have grown to love in the past eight years that I have been working and living here – although I have lived in Bangalore and London in short spells in this while, I have returned to Bombay each time feeling happy to be back “home”…

And now, everything that I held dear about the city (all the myths?), I see being shattered one after the other…

Bombay has always been considered one of the the safest places in India – especially for women – and now, who can point fingers at Delhi any longer?

Power cuts used to be unheard of earlier – and now residential areas in any case swelter in summer with the frequent power shut downs; Bombay says hello darkness to billboards too…

And for me the last straw was when I went to ‘town’ (I live in vashi, alright?) last weekend and found the second hand pavement book shops had all but disappeared. Part of the ‘cleaning up’ of Bombay… ironically these shops were missing earlier too during the Kala Ghoda and Mumbai festival – why, these shops are (sadly, were) as much part of Bombay’s heritage as any British era building

I used to think living in Bombay spoils you for life in any other place… no longer? Slowly for me this city is turning into Mumbai… ‘Morality’ before all else!

Once was Bombay is the name of a book by Pinky Virani

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