Monday, August 15

Bombay : my soulmate





Mrinal Sen calls Kolkatta his El Dorado, I call Bombay my soulmate, the city that I so absolutely love.

Bombay understands me, loves me, spurns me and then draws me back , holds me and loves me all over again. Its with me. In my insanity. In my rationale world. In my triumphs and also my traumas.

We courted the first time I read Midnight Children by Salman Rushdie and then one day I came to Rushdie's Bombay.And thats when the love affair started. The City of dreams. The City of infinite limits. The City of untold possibility. The city that springs back almost as if nothing happened. Suketu's Maximum City. And my own soulmate.We share a secret.A truth never betrayed.

Its strange to come from the wild East ( dont get me wrong, i love my roots)and be part of this structured anarchy, view the glitterati and the urbane jungle in disdainful juxtaposition. In unique harmony.

A city of strong contrasts, a world with two opposites, Bombay at the end of financial year 2002-03, paid Rs 28,000 crore in taxes, 35% of India's collection of Rs 82,000 crore yet plays host to world's largest and most miserable slums.

With a literacy rate of 85.6% (female: 82.7%, male: 90%) compared with India's overall literacy of 65.4% it is the only City where you may bump into an average Bombaite at Phoenix Mills who would be oblivious of the mills history.And not ashamed of it.

Only in my Bombay can the suburban rail systems carry a total of 2.2 billion passengers every year.Incidentally, the world's population is 6 billion.Yet it has the highest number of Lone wolfs and grit Girls ( 30 something and single , a term coined by Times of India) living on their own terms without the marital bliss and joys of parenthood.

Only in a world of steel independence can such contrasts coexist.....the steel bombay.. the sponge bombay that absorbs differences.

I am losing my objectivity...

Meandering at Bandstand or staring into nothingness at Marine Drives, having the cutting chai or taking the locals, i love Bombay for all that it stands for and also all that it does not.

Needless to say my first digicam had me meandering in the city and trying to capture the life here.

Enjoy the pics.

6 comments:

Ajit Chouhan said...

Nice blog shuchika,just to let you know that I have added your blogsite in my link list.Dont forget to visit my blogs and post ur comments.
www.ajitchouhan.blogspot.com
www.hrfundablog.blogspot.com
www.coolbihari.blogspot.com

Dont forget your good old boring road.

shuchika said...

Hi ajit,

That was a knock from the past. claimed my here and now in a frenzied moment..

Images flashed, of a world though distant hasnt grown cold. How can anyone who has lived in Boring Road Patna forget it?

My life in Patna is my own..the childlike candor, the unmistaken innocence, the age of unreason,the life of small things... I have wrapped all of it in a muslin cloth , stuffed it with a Napthlene ball and kept it in a safe corner in my almirah like the saree worn on a bride's wedding.

Keep buzzing and keep blogging.

Ajit Chouhan said...

You know Suchika i've been to many parts of the country but I feel a strange serenity when i spend some time honking my lungs out discussing every damn thing under the sun (even the moon) along with my gang (including amitabh).

And especially those stairs near Jalpan with those Hot sams and cold drink.

Your blogs are really soothing to read for someone like me who seldom reads such passionate individualistic thoughts.Your blog reflects a lot about your intense desire to be a prolific writer.

I hope u do read rashmi bansal's blog.

I have lot to tell you about ur wrting style but perhap it's too early for me arrive at any conclusion.

Although i strongly see that streak in ur words.Correct me if i am wrong.

shuchika said...

Hi Ajit,

The hot samosa at Jalpan has the potential to take the world by storm, the spicy lingering taste of masala aloo tempts me especially when i finish my carefully sanitised salad lunch. ( I have been watching my weight grow around me ever since i left Patna :-( )even the tangy spicy taste of the golgappa when it melts on the tongue...the taste is so much a part of my growing up days..of the few things that refuse to measure up in my City of infinite limits..Golgappa tops the chart ( chicken roll being the other one, they call it Frankie here.. wonder why?)

every time i go home, i do the rounds of jalpaan and Agra Chaat Bhandaar, yes he is still there ..the chatwalla ..timeless.. like my memories.. the same musty ..greasy brown shirt..soaked in the sweat..the chat now costs 10 bucks against 3.50 in 1999 when i packed my small town morality in a briefcase and came here.

I just now how you feel about the sessions and the discussions in Patna.

Passioante & intense.. that sounds like me ages and many layers ago,i dont know if i am still passion's child, may be I am,but i still haven't found a cause worth being passionate about...

I really dont think I want to be a writer, i think after a long time in life I dont want to be anything or anyone...and i think its a great feeling.

do comment on my writing style and i would go to rashmi's blog maybe later in the day.

long time.

Ajit Chouhan said...

Suchika after reading your blog their's one thing which strikes me immediately is that essentially you are a loner.

Probably you have not yet come across something so stimulating and striking as yet to stir your passions.

Your writing style ........well to be honest i have seldom read any fiction,mostly i read biographies and management stuff which lacks much emotions but give me some time probably, i feel i am not yet competent to pass any judgement on your writing style.

You know i have a simple funda as far any communication is concerned .I consider writing also to be a form of communication tool i.e the simpler the better.What i mean to say is that one must be able to express oneself as simply as possible.I guess nothing is as striking as simplicity of words.

But I really admire Naipaul and Ben oakrey, also Laxman, I have kind of typical INDIAN mindset when it comes to reading and your writing style has lot more .......oomph ....i guess that's spicy and conveys lot of depth and richness in terms of texture.

However i feel i need sometime to form a particular opinion.

I am really keen to know about your last para statement its really fascinating"I dont want to be anything or anyone" please share something more on this ....I'll tell u more on this in my next post.

Bye Ajit

shuchika said...

Hi Ajit,

I understand the need for simplicity, in language and expression and for many it flows beyond that, transcends into thoughts and merges with life. Yes, there is something about simplicity that catches people's imagination.

As my giggles succumb to restrained smiles I have learnt to respect simplicity. Yet to me simplicity is approval seeking, it is an unspoken need, a need to be heard , a need to be understood, a need to share my heaven and earth and all that's between...

I have left my need to be understood in the coutyard where I played my girlish games.I go back sometimes, to retrieve an old book or a toy and share it with the adult in me.

Does that make me a loner? Yes, it does. But I would rather be me, wash, dry and wear my piece of sky than somebody else's. Its a choice - which is an outcome of both my natural orientation and my logical contemplation.

Playing with words, making it complicated, creating combination locks out of them for passer by to unlock the secret chamber with their own perceptions and find their own meaning...is an enjoyable ( shall we say vocation?). You would read and decipher one meaning, somebody would read and decipher another meaning... sometimes their interpretation surprises my own realms... challenges my own boundaries and that to me is essence of writing...

'I dont want to be anything or anyone"....to me thats finding oneself. When you are just comfortable with sameness or newness... when you stop being something... and wallow into nothingness with just your inner self for company ...when the tomorrows and its progeny no longer bothers.. your todays , your here and nows, because what we have is the here and now.

Strictly speaking, there is future....so what's the fear?

Allright, that was loads of what you would call oomph value..( this was really new, nobody ever said my writing had oomph value.. ).

keep writing.