Back home in Mumbai. After I landed here for first few minutes I could not but help compare it with US and my first impressions of Chicago.
Yes, I guess it is true, We do lag behind; Way too behind in infrastructure. In US people can not but be impressed by the wide well paved roads, vast green fields, shiny glass and chrome buildings, reasonably well dressed populace, big cars, wide walk ways, huge malls.. List goes on.
So, in comparision, teeming masses of humanity, not really as well dressed, little scruffy due to the very nature and environment: hot humid, dusty with crowded pavements and roads, constant chaos due to contruction and every one trying to claim the same space for use. Pedesterians, cyclists, motor cyclist, scooters, small cars, autos - three wheeled autos - trucks, minis -- every one vying for the use of same small space at the same time.
So on one hand, from where the cars and vehicles are supersized to a place full of economy / compact size cars; from a place where the minimum safe distance between two cars is atleast one car long to a place where vehicles are literally bumber to bumper and not more then 3 inch gap between two adjacent cars.
I hope you get the picture. Yes, it is crazy, it is a bit hot and humid, it does appear to be a bit dangerous. And yes, in retrospect, it does appear to less then perfect, and it does stand out in sharp contract, specially when you compare it well planned well laid out infrastructure in West.
It is then I realize that thi is what people mean when they say, "You won't like it", "You will not be able to adjust", "Life will be different". But what they forget is that I have been in US just for 32 months .. but I have spent 32 years in India.
This is where I belong and this is what I remember and once you accept the place with it's warts and all and start focusing on what can be changed or what is being changed.. then again .. One feels at peace.
Yes this is it... but still it has it's own charm. Waking up in the morning to the sound of breeze blowing thru the trees and leaves whispering of the leaves, mingled with an barking of occasional dogs, crows, birds, pigeons, sound of music and news wafting through the windows. The tolling of bells in the temple, call of ma's voice and clatter of utensils in the kitchen. Feeling of the cold and fresh water with a touch of sweetness to it in the shower; the hot tea and fresh breakfast .. ringing of the doorbell for the milkman to deliver the milk, the garbage collector for collecting the garbage, the person who comes in to clean up.....
That is my Mumbai ... in midst of horns and hundred of different vehicles.. teeming multitudes .. The shop-keepers who greet me by name and ask about my heath and experiences abroad ..and want to know how long I will be around and who tell me how much my parents missed me ..
The security gaurd at the building entrance who has a cheerful greeting age old familiarity.
The neighbor's daughter who wants to know what gitadi bought for her...
Mumbai - a city of friendly people a city full of memories past and present .. city ready to welcome me with open arms and that wants to be assured that this time round I am going to be around for a longer period of time ..
That is my mumbai...
Now your turn ..tell me did you get the feeling of two mumbais that exists in the same space?