October 18, 2009

Oh, I'm in love!

Diwali Night. I take the fast train from Churchgate on my way to Andheri. Two gentlemen sit before me. I greet them ‘Happy Diwali’ and the train leaves. Sitting in my window seat, I look at the city that I have made the home of my being and my dreams. And soon I find small slum-like dwellings not good enough to be called houses, but yet decorated in their limited capacity and shining in the spirit of the festival.

I smile.

At Dadar, more people join in. Men making way for more men. Four sit on the seat meant for three, something the gentleman before me calls ‘Bombay adjustment.’ I smile again. ‘You from Bombay?’- he asks. I tell him that I’m from Bihar, living here for the last fifteen months. And then I add that this ‘adjustment’ is one of those things that make Bombay a beautiful city. He smiles back in approval. And I turn my gaze back to my love- this city of dreams, of hope, of life. We, in this short conversation of ours, had shared our love for this city. And all three times when we took its name, we said ‘Bombay’ and not necessarily ‘Mumbai’.

It was sad to know that Karan Johar had to apologise to Raj Thackrey for using ‘Bombay’ instead of ‘Mumbai’ in his production ‘Wake Up Sid’. As Shobha De wrote in her column the next day, Raj Thackrey has clearly missed the point. Couldn’t he see the love this film showed for this great city? I like to call my beloved with names more than one. And does it really matter what name I use as long as I love her enough.

I loved ‘Wake Up Sid.’ And I have an extremely personal reason for it. The film had its warm and emotional moments. But those that choked me the most and brought tears in my eyes most easily were not the scenes of interpersonal relations or joy or sorrow. It was the mention of ‘Bombay’ and the palpable love the writer-director has for this city that affected me the most. As I came out of the theatre, I knew one thing for sure – I’m in love.

Thanks Ayan, thanks Karan, and the wonderful cast and crew of ‘Sid’. Thanks for making me realize that I am madly in love with Mumbai. And I love to call it Bombay. Somebody’s got some problem with that?


  1. You brought me back my memories of Bombay. I was very sad when I was leaving Bombay. I was sure about coming back after some time. But, after moving to Ranchi memories have started fading. Life in Mumbai is like a whirlpool. If you are in it, you get sucked deeper and deeper, with no chance of coming out. But from outside the eddy, it becomes just another big city.

  2. thanks boss,
    I can't say much but seems this life of mine would be spent in Mumbai. I won't leave India and within its territory it would always be this city suffering from a 'bipolar disorder' of its own that would house me. And it's enough for a life time.