300   03/06/2016

Bombay Diaries

Bombay has got itself a new shiny airport in last few years. It’s colourful and vibrant; full of art and Bollywood. I love it. Far cry from the dull old airport that resembled a fish market. However fitness freaks designed this airport. It involves serious amount of walking. You loose weight while reaching immigration. What a clever idea!

I sail through immigration and baggage collection. Heading towards a taxi line I realise I am sweating profusely. The humidity and pungent smell of pollution fill my lungs as I start to cough. My taxi driver is a colourful character. He is from Bihar and has been driving for over 20 years.  He warns me about the traffic, but I am not prepared for what I am about to encounter. Oh my god! Lines and lines of cars, and sound of horns and traffic. Reminds me of Jakarta where you could sit in the same spot for hours and finish reading an entire novel! Bombay is catching up with this city. I am heading to South Bombay and the airport is in North Bombay. The distance is an hour. But today is another story.

I decide to embrace the delay instead of cribbing. The city is looking more run down than the last time I was here. The humidity and rain has transformed buildings into shadows of what they were before. Small kids selling books or flowers, beggars banging on car windows and occasional ladies selling some embroidered cloth. This site has not changed. It’s imprinted in our DNA. Does not shock us. But for those who are visiting the city for the first time it can ruffle them. I remember the first time my better half visited India, he was just quiet throughout the ride. He had only one word to describe his feeling ‘INTENSE!”

After three hour-long journey, I am finally reaching South Bombay. I live in the so called elite part of Bombay where Taj Mahal Hotel and Churchgate station are located. It’s more green and the financial hub is right next to my home. However in some neighbourhoods the buildings resemble the era that has gone by. There is no place to park and city looks crippled. I finally pull into my home. Familiar faces greet me, old neighbours wave out and I see my mom standing on the first floor smiling!

And then it dawns – it’s all worth it!

 



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