Bombay is a mad city, and that is probably why, despite its thousand troubles and limitations, it is very easy to fall in love with it, to lose yourself in the madness, become one with it. And perhaps, that is also why someone who’s spent even a little amount of time there finds it so hard to leave it, feeling incapacitated everywhere else. The city, through its imperfections, sucks you in. And if it doesn’t drive you insane, it’ll fascinate you like very few other places ever will.
- Refer to the last post, third segment. There was a snake sighted in the locality I was staying in, and rather than actively taking measures to look for it and possibly save lives, the apartment management just put up a hardly noticeable notice on the walls, saying that if anyone did spot it, he or she was to contact the watchman, who would then see where the snake moves. I doubt if any more sightings of the snake or even casualties would have made a difference to the urgency shown.Meanwhile, remarkably co-incident with the snake sighting, the front door of my cousin’s flat broke, leaving a small gaping hole at the bottom. When I asked him whether we should get it repaired lest the snake sneaked in at night, he just shrugged and changed the subject.
- Given that the city was devastated by blasts very recently, on my way to Colaba by the local train, I expected to be frisked all over. Nothing of the sort happened.
I could have been carrying a live bomb. It was Diwali night. On this day of celebration, the city was one man’s will away from being blown to pieces. Yet again.
- During a three-day stay, I came across two instances of people lighting crackers on the road, that too in full, evening, Diwali traffic. In the latter case, the man was setting fire to chakris and throwing them on the main road, while auto-rickshaws, cars and buses turned and swayed and evaded them without complaint, as if it was all a harmless video game where nothing really valuable was at stake.
The man kept laughing all along, his joy multiplied manifold when the cracker flinging sparks in all directions made another man on a bicycle almost lose his balance. He kept laughing even when a rocket launched by him boomeranged onto his own chest, before he frantically pushed it away to avoid harm.
Whichever way one would like to put it, this kind of indifference to adversity, or the confidence of the people in their ability to handle it, is baffling. But that’s how most things in Bombay are. In a city where the cost of living is very high, the cost of life, on the other hand, is very low.