Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mumbai - Passing Dhobi Ghaat and some more - II

Aye Dil hai Mushkil, jeena yahan..
Zara hatke Zara bachke, yeh hai Bombay meri jaan !!

Sunset at Worli Sea Face
I had heard this song so many times during the sunday morning "Rangoli", that i always took it at face value. Taking a song at face value, would mean being happy just by the tune and look of the song and having never to delve into the lyrics part or what it meant to the protagonist singing the song. It was when i happened to listen to this song on the radio, while on a local train, that i finally took notice of the clever words, that hid behind Johnny Walker's amusing face.

There's a running joke, that the best way to make God laugh is to tell him your future plans. Well, that gives a rather sinister picture of the old man up there, doesn't it?? Holds good in my case. When you live in a fast city, disappointments come thick and fast and after a few knockouts, you do start thinking fast in your head and try coop up with them even faster. Plan A never works, there ought to be a Plan B and yeah while you are at it, please also prepare for Plan C,D and E.Heck, u might as well be a crisis manager and have no plan at all. To each his own, calamity has no funny bone !!

Jobs changed, roomies too.And what great ones there !! These two were my past and my the chaddi buddy and the other, fresh out of my B-school. The trio had some great times and even now when we retrospect almost invariably we end up miming each other on that statement "Rangari heights" was the bestest times in Bombay". Yeah, the place i'd taken up, was a 1 room+kitchen MHADA flat (for non-mumbaikars, slum development flats, which the original slum dweller leased out to me, as he was already living in another proper 2BHK slum development flat!!!). The two of them joined me later, and while space was a big constraint, it never dampened our spirits and we lived in full glory at "Rangari Heights", the modified name, we'd given to "Rangari Bori Chawl", which was the actual name of the apartment. How a 300sq feet flat accomodated 3 folding beds, 2 cupboards, a TV a DVD player, a Playstation, a whole lot of clothing and three adult individuals, will remain an unsolved mystery forever. There are a lot of funny stories of our times there. We had a humongous big head of a neighbour, who was a self-proclaimed "Retired-Model". He was henpecked, and was found outside our door, laying flat on his fat ass (we'd high jump him everytime we had to step out !). Everytime we ordered Pizza, there would be an enquiry if it was somebody's birthday today. The females coming into the house, had to have a strict dress code, and a straight-to-lift-and-room-on-the-left-policy.

The Republic of powai, viewed from Hotel Rennaissance
The gang gained numbers thick and fast. It was also then that i realised, i was not Superman. I could never be at all places at all the required moments. The party groups changed, commitments broken and rituals unobserved. It was time to move on, and to a new place. Powai it was !! The central suburb of the city. No more the craziness, no more the hustle bustle. It was time to settle down and enjoy what a majority of people in the city never can - tranquility. And with the best loved company !! Life was in much order now, when we were at home. Travelling took a toll but the first class compartments of Eastern Line Local Trains, were quite generous ( i use were, as i haven't taken the locals over the last 2 years, bless me !!) and it was all good. Bombay had this side to it as well. The greenery across the railway tracks, was something i had forgotten while dwelling amongst the hard landscapes all the time. Lifestyle was cheaper in comparison. While "Going out" was the mantra for the day, now "house parties" were somehow the most happening agenda we could come up with. Wild bunch of people, with lots of spirits and food, music in full blast, enjoying each others company. And lo behold...a gazillion times, and still rocking !!! Sometimes it felt as if we were playing "Settlers", or you know "The Sims".

With great powers comes great responsibilities, and with recession comes the management ability for lay-offs without any credibility. How much ever amusing the last statement might appear, losing your job can be a bitch. I'll quote Jolie's tattoo here - "What nourishes me also destroys me". While maximum city here, opened its mouth to engulf you while all its expensive tentacles blocking your airway of monetary passage, the spirit of the city, never allowed me to retreat, repent, sit back and retrospect. It was Bombay, for heaven's sake !! If i couldn't bounce back here, i couldn't anywhere. The ideology paid off in sometime. While i might project it as a victory of the soul, it wasn't possible without the best buddies' support. There was this one time, i even went to Haridwar, for a great job opportunity and had made it through, but a thousand things were not right about it . I remember foolishly asking someone about broadband connections. I'd asked for a smoke in the main market and was gazed upon as an alien, leave aside, the expectation of booze. The film they were airing in the nearby theatre, was "Barsaat" - Bobby Deol's debut movie !! Bobby Deol !!! OMIFFFFFFFGAWDDDD !!! A week back from the holy place, my sins were washed off and i managed to strike gold in Bombay. Been close to two years now. I ain't looking back (except the retrospection i have had to do for this post).

Maybe, its just me. Maybe thats what Bombay does to you. Decreases other cities expectations, by such a drastic limit, you fear leaving from here. Maybe i am wrong. Maybe i didn't take the right decisions, board the right trains to success. But, i am happy, yeah deep within i am. My words may not sound poetic, liberal, or like the last scenes of Luck by chance, Konkana Sen taking the taxi or whatever. But the feeling is the same. My last two years have been a delight I have met up with awesome people, lost a few of my best buddies to the bitch called "migration" and yet am living amidst all love and friendship.

I'd been to Nariman point a few weeks back for a meeting. Did manage to pass through the same point of the sidewalk, where it had all started. It was empty. Innocence gave a weak smile from inside, as if i was about to tease it for what i had done back then. The smile was priceless. It was one of those that you realize alone, and close your eyes immediately.


  1. Nostalgic. Wonderful. Serene.

    A new big city can be so intimidating in the start but after you've spent some time in and then retrospect the whole transition seems so seamless. Guess there only a few places can make you feel that way. This post makes me nostalgic. I think I was lucky in my big city cz I had him, we always had each other to fall back on each other. Made it all so much more easier.

    And not to forget friends! If you find the right kind, you've hit gold. I can never forget the summer of 2007, my internship here from where it all started. I'd never have made it but for them.

    Loved this one. Is there a third??

  2. Hey Pall..thanks !!

    Your version seems as much heartfelt. And there will be third one, but in a couple of years i guess..As of now..i remain in my city !! :D

  3. The last para is the KILLER ONE! Awesome man.