Monday, November 13, 2006

Mumbai matters

I am in Bombay, Mumbai if you insist. The city that has something for everyone, so goes the refrain of anyone who has stayed in Mumbai for a period of time. Maybe the city grows on you but to me it is one intensely depressing city.
I flew in this morning by kingfisher and the inflight magazine is full of the page 3 crowd of Mumbai. So it is page after page of almost the same faces in cleavage revealing dresses for women and badly unkept look for the men who have graced different events in the last month. One look at the mag and you will believe that life in Mumbai is one big party, i guess it is for some.
The city is a city of huge contrasts. The skyline of mumbai is dominated by the highrises but after craning your neck to see the top floor just look down and the shcoking poverty of the slums comes as a rude slap on the face. It is not that Chennai has no slums but here in Mumbai the slums are everywhere. They really are the two extremes of the city, you see the page 3 crowd wearing revealing clothes as they have too much money and the slum dwellers also wearing revealing clothes for just the opposite reason.
The other important facet of life in Mumbai is the suburban rail service. I believe that they have 3 lines like Chennai. Anyway I was advised take a first class ticket that was priced more than 9 times the second class fare as that would help me to get int the train comfortably. I managed the same but the ride was so depressing to say the least. The tracks run through slums and several decaying dilapidated high rises. They look worn out and so much in disrepair. The city looks so weary and worn out. My meting is in the Hilton, its as posh glitzy and glamorous as any Hilton can be. From the 21st floor the window overlooks a breath taking view of the sea and the Mumbai skyline and also the squalor of the poverty that abounds.
The house that I'm staying is a rented accomodation of my school mate and his friends. The rental for a three bedroom is a mind boggling 40 K for a 3 bedroom house of around 1000 sqft. I'm told that this is a posh area of Mumbai, but the house looks decayed and is not very far from squatter houses. The real estate scene is crazy for legitimate buyers and it is a free ride for squatters with the right connections.
There is lot more that I have observed, but will post later. Mumbai may be a great city but there is no place like home.


harlequin said...

i agree, there is no place like chennai.. altho i fell in love with mumbai too, for all its faults.. the people more than make up for anything else..
i think the bandstand depressed me the most.. call that a beach??

trinity said...

me not been to bombay and though i was not born in Chennai... i am a proud chennaite... for i ve lived all my life here and would always wonder how i would have been if i were raised else where ?!

im glad God put me here afterall He knows what is best for me
my salutes to this grand ol' city..