I went on a day’s trip to Mumbai and back yesterday and these two photographs show the intensity of the rains on the highway. Please forgive the quality of the photographs. They were taken with my mobile phone.
Monsooon should have settled over our part of the world by mid June but it did not leading to wide spread panic about the possibility of a drought after many years. Luckily since the last three days, there has been enough and more rain to raise hopes that the Met may just be right in predicting that the rest of the season will see enough rainfall to wipe out the deficit experienced during the one month that we did not have rains.
It was a tiring if somewhat nostalgic trip for me into the island of Mumbai. It is after many years that I drove through some of my old very familiar areas including passing by the building where my parents lived when my brother and I were born way back in the early forties of the last century. The rain played a spoiler but for all that, it was nice pointing out to my chauffeur the landmarks as it was his first visit to Mumbai.
I was forced to go to Mumbai as one of the clubs in which I am a member insisted that I come personally to prove that I am still alive and to pose for a photograph and sign in their presence so that a new RFID card could be issued for me. I was duly photographed and mollycoddled into signing four times because my signature was too big for their requirment and finally sent off by a very courteous and cheerful young lady who thought that I was a fragile antique piece needing careful handling. I enjoyed that handling and left after complimenting her for her efficiency.
And, no Shackman and John, it was not the kind of handling that you guys are imagining.
My work got over in just under fifteen minutes but I spent about two hours and forty five minutes on the island stuck in traffic! But for all that, I am happy that I went and saw Mumbai from ground level and in pouring rain. That is the Mumbai I have etched in my mind from having lived the maximum number of years anywhere next to Pune.
On the way back, I made brief halts to meet two of my cousins on the mainland and those were not very happy visits as in both places I had to meet people with health issues.
All in all a satisfactory, if somewhat tiring outing.
PS. Please do read the post and the comments, to which I have given a link under “my signature”. One of my treasured stories and the comments combination in my blog.
When I came across the name Bombay Beach, USA I was intrigued. I carried out some research and am not only intrigued, I am stunned that something like this can exist!
Neither the clip nor the Wikipedia link give you as much as you can find about this place from the film Bombay Beach.
It took some effort but it was worthwhile finding out about this town and all that it stands for. The original Bombay now known as Mumabai is a completely different cup of tea!
Having finished reading the book Mumbai Fables which briefly appeared on my earlier post Doppelganger I want to share some information about the cover of the book that I found at the end of the book. I quote the author and reproduce an image of the original poster that inspired the self portrait.
“Consider the contemporary artist Atul Dodiya’s Bombay Buccaneer. The self portrait assembles multiple fragments that share no organic connection but depend on artifice and imagination. A poster of the Hindi film Baazigar (1993) is its formal inspiration.In the original, the images of two female protagonists are mirrored in the sunglasses worn by the film’s psychopathic antihero.
Bombay Buccaneer replaces them with the reflections of the painters David Hockney and Bhupen Khakhar. In place of the menacing antihero, there is an ordinary office worker, collar unbuttoned and tie askew, but armed with a gun, the fixtures of everyday urban life frame the portrait – the open doorway of a suburban train, a metalled roadway, and the ubiquitous yellow and black taxi, broken down. Dodiya intermeshes art and cinema, Indian and Western, pop culture and high art, to brilliantly capture Mumbai’s kaleidoscopic urban experience.
This books is an amazing piece of writing which can be truly appreciated only by some one who has lived in Mumbai and before that Bombay. I have lived there during both phases and have first hand experience of many insights that Gyan Prakash brings into the city’s history and present. It is a book that I will read again and most probably once again.
Anil, thank you for this wonderful gift.
Since I was born in Bombay both of us have spent many years there and have fond memories of that place, my friend Anil thought that it would be a nice gift for me when he came across a book called Mumbai Fables. I am reading it and it is everything that Anil expected me to find in.
The cover is a painting called Bombay Buccaneer by Atul Dodia that is the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum.
Now take a good look at this photograph.
Do you think that I have got the older version of the model for Dodia’s painting? I most certainly do. Unless he is a doppelgänger.
I should know. The older version is my cousin Srinivasan. When he was younger and when he too was based in Bombay, he most certainly looked like the buccaneer, though he was a banker. I however cannot imagine my cousin ever holding a pistol in his hand, nor wear his wrist watch on his right hand. But the resemblance is uncanny. I wish I had access to a photograph taken during his younger days!
I wonder if he had a side business of modeling. What say cousin?
I live in a Co-operative Housing Society consisting of twelve flats (apartments, for my American friends). It is a nice cozy little society and all the residents are quite friendly with each other. All of us, except two have been here from the time the society was formed. Out of the two, one is a member who joined us just four years ago and one has been leased out by the member to someone who is not very sociable with the rest of us.
One member, recently has sold his flat and has relocated to Mumbai. He and his wife came to take leave of me yesterday and he tried to explain the reason for his move. To cut a long story short, he wanted to move back to Mumbai because most of his family was still there and in his old age, he simply wanted to be closer to them. It was a bit annoying though, as he was whining about how Pune has changed for the worse, and how he hoped that in his new Mumbai suburb he will be happier.
Pune was considered to be the pensioner’s paradise when we moved in here. We came via Bengaluru and Mumbai and many other postings before that, with Mumbai being the longest and the most stays. I was in a transferable job then and as a routine, we would relocate every thirty or thirty six months, sometimes at shorter durations too. For most other Pune residents, coming to settle down in Pune was purely for economic and health reasons. One could sell a flat in Mumbai for a ransom and buy a much bigger flat in Pune for much less than the sale price at Mumbai and this enabled many to live comfortable retired lives in Pune. Pune with its very moderate climate and laid back life style was a wonderful place to live in. It no longer is due to “Development and Progress”.It is still better than say Bengaluru though!
The normal topic of conversation when the older citizens get together in parks or social occasions is how Pune has changed and what can be done now that half the benefit of moving to Pune has disappeared. I call these “whining sessions”. I normally do not like to whine about this and voice my opinion that having made our beds, we must sleep on them.
My neighbour’s recent whine in the reverse direction and with the plea that I should also consider shifting back to Mumbai reminded me about Conrad’s whine bar. If he revives that, I can assure him of a lot of traffic from many Punekars (People from Pune), who I shall forward with great glee to his blog. Game Conrad?
Last year, after the Mumbai terrorism, I had written many posts and responded to comments and my regular readers will recollect the mention I had made of my friends and their son Kaizad. Kaizad was a budding chef in the Taj Hotel, and he was deliberately shot and killed by the scum. I reproduce the article interviewing Nawaz and Noshir that appeared in our local newspaper by a scanned copy as the article is not appearing in the eversion of the newspaper. By clicking on the image, you can enlarge the image to read better and you will also see the photograph of Kaizad the gentle giant.
My young friend Sandeep has written a poignant post in his blog about Mumbai and you can see my comments on it here.
The Times of India has published another very interesting article which is worth reading as is the article in the Independent.
Pakistan has indicted seven people in Pakistan for the roles played by them in the massacre but the key players still enjoy official protection and patronage. Pakistan is imploding everyday and I envisage major problems for Pakistanis, refugees from there who would like to come over to India and Indian Muslims who would like to help them, in the days to come. I hope that the Pakistani establishment would get a grip on its country, its economy, its development and its people to avoid becoming like Somalia.