Tuesday, December 05, 2006

to bombay

Imagine entering or being pushed inside a jam-packed compartment —your feet almost dangling in air, your body (not even the skeleton is spared) contorted in shapes unimaginable, inexorable forces moving up and down your shape. Inside, the crowd is bristled up by a motive not grander than reaching their everyday destination—office or home—but as urgent nevertheless. The invaders—you—are welcomed by pushes, shoves, and gropes; cries of andar, andar fill the air that has been stifled between and beneath tumultuous bodies. And after much warfare, when you do acquire a foothold on a patch that has not been annexed by another sole and as you struggle to keep a clammy hand hinged onto something, you’re treated to extraordinary sights: comrades nestled cosily, shuffling a pack of worn-out cards, a gentleman reading ‘Kasturba: a life’, or a group chorusing Marathi songs.

And imagine going through almost all of this all over again, twice a day, everyday, for days and days.

Bombay takes you by the scruff, turns you over, and shakes the last ounce of you from your piggybank. The experience is exhilarating, disgusting, exacting, refreshing—all at once. Two nights ago, at 1130, I saw one having a haircut, and one giving it too! When the narrators in Bollywood flicks say ‘the city never sleeps’ this is what they mean.

The contrast of India cannot possibly hit you harder anywhere but here. My office, in central, posh Lokhandwala, is opposite a string of huge malls but adjacent to a line of jhuggis and chawls. While there are coumtless eateries nearby, the streets are lined with makeshift huts that dole out lunches at dirt-cheap prices.

And public transport is the greatest leveler. Classless commutes. Everyone travels (rather has to) by local train or bus. The hottest chick to the oldest uncle, to the loudest mawaali, to the most straitjacketed buzurg.

Today, as I got down at the bus stop near my office, I saw Hrithik’s bare chest shouting out loud from a giant poster. I couldn’t help grimace. That instant, nothing was further from truth, from reality. After a bus-train-bus ride of almost one and a half hour, after the jostling and huffing and puffing nothing was more absurd. I think that’s why people are so passionate about movies—to escape a harsh, shared reality. To saunter in a place so unimaginable that it refuses to acknowledge their depressing and exhausting truth.

There’re a hundred things to write about. But I’ll give myself time to sauté them, then deep fry and relish them.

6 comments:

PritS said...

ekdum fresh maal hai...
it looks so exciting [;)]
i know the writer in u will find countless stories in daily life.
keep us updated

Anonymous said...

duniya ke jis kone main tum baithe ho....
uss kone ki kisse kahani kahte ho.
reminds me of an old hindi song ' Do deewane shahar main, aab-o-daana dhodhte hain ... ek aashiyana dhoondhte.'
did u finalise ur aashiyana?

satyajit said...

not yet..i'm still on the lookout for the 2nd deewana:-)

Tikna said...

quite a full platter that; and spicy..
go on.. gormandize... and ruminate here!!

Manoo Kapoor said...

hair cut at 11.30. I am sure us bande ko meri type ki problem hogi

sucharitaroy1 said...

seems u have your plate full...take your time..and dont gobble more than you can swallow...and you can have it all...gud luck...