May 25, 2012


Something is definitely different about this place.

On the surface, it hasn't changed much. The old divisions are still the same. SoBo, the suburbs, New Bombay, everything else. Marine Drive is still Marine Drive. Juhu Beach and Chowpatty are still as crowded as ever.  Every inch of this city has retained its aura of chaos. When has anything about this city ever been pre-planned, when has it ever been static? Bombay has always been about spontaneity, contradictions, surprises, and the unknown. How else would millions of migrants have come to live here, accepted by the locals, and become the beginnings of a culture so unique, so dynamic and ever-changing? True, we migrants (or children, or grandchildren of migrants) still stick to some of our old idiosyncrasies. If, like me, you happen to have South Indian parents, you know you'll end up in Matunga every so often, getting coffee beans ground just the way you like it, so you can savour filter coffee at home, every day. But I digress.

Some things change for the better. But some don't. And what is horribly different about this place is the attitude that its people seem to wear. It's all very good to organize charity events and protest marches for various issues, but they don't seem to lead us anywhere. People are getting murdered and raped and tortured and criminals seem to roam free on the streets, and nobody cares about the madness the city is slipping into. The scary kind of madness, not the chaotic madness the city is so well-accustomed to.

Oh, if you've got money, you can lead the good life, and none of these things matter. Or so we think.

This city has always been so beautiful, and it does not deserve a fate so tragic.