I don’t know whether I love or hate this city. I hated it when I landed. Rains , jams , traffic, people, everything, irritated me and now when two days have passed and I have travelled most of the city I don’t know whether I still hate the city. The men here are still nothing to talk about. Women look equally sad. However, there is something about the city. The houses, the sea everything just mesmerises you. I just can’t describe how much the houses here have fascinated me, especially those old apartments which have this stamp of the past glory.
Bombay always reminds me of those 80’s bollwood movies which had all arty people like farooq sheikh, Deepti Nawal, Amol Palekar etc. Surprisingly, Bombay still looks the same. It can change its name to Mumbai but it cannot change its identity attached with the name ‘Bombay’. It also reminds me of my visit to Calcutta and the colonial architecture which also gets replicated in this city. The major difference, Calcutta being a dying city with its past-glory hangover and leftist burden while Bombay a constantly changing, developing capitalist city.
Coming from a place like Delhi which I literally breathe, it is hard for any city to match until and unless it’s Athens ;) ( Let me tell you Greek men are Gods !!! ).
So, what confused me the most ? The city which enchants the whole of nation and many parts of the world does not seem to impress the people here. People are away from the limelight. The way they dress up or carry themselves show that they are still untouched by the showbiz. They are super composed people. Even when their language seems that they are fighting and abusing, they are quite simple and cool.
Me being a woman and lover of short dresses, I can tell you I loved the city, the way it behaved with me. There is just no concept of ‘male gaze’ or even ‘female gaze’ here. Women can travel at anytime wearing anything without being scanned from head to toe and being scared for their lives. No matter how much I love Delhi, the truth is, it is one of the most unsafe place for women. I personally have experienced multiple things which are not easy to forget. In the past days, I travelled alone in public transport wearing whatever I wanted and not being afraid. I just love the city for that.
There are not multiple places or locations for sightseeing and the turbulent sea just follows you wherever you go. Street shopping is more like Delhi’s week-day markets and nothing compared to Janpath or Sarojini. But they do have huge showrooms with some of them being really good. However, I really think the people do not use the clothes of those showrooms or I become blind when they use them ;). Bombay being a city of celebrities you do would bump into one or the another. Ok ! I am not that easy to impress and don’t get fascinated by these celebrities ( The last time I was in total awe, was when I met Sitaram Yechury ! ). My kind of celebrities are different.
So, landing in the city with all kinds of preconceived notions and prejudices, do I want to visit it again ? I think, I might. To meet my friends, to travel alone in public transports and to lech at Sea at Worli sea-face during night.
I will definitely date the city again !