Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bombay - a transposer

While talking to a friend on phone yesterday, who has just shifted to Bombay, i tried to comprehend how the life in Bombay can be characterized for the middle class. Also, let me tell you that - you are just another middle class guy here in Bombay, irrespective of what you or your native city thinks of you.

Bombay had always been a dream city for me; i have always admired the beauty, the mojo, the excitement and the quality of life here. But the charm is available only for less than 0.001% of the people (Don't ask me how i reached this figure, just wanted to state an enormously small quantity, hence 0.001). For everyone else, the life is killing out here in Bombay.

Once, i met a couple of well-to-do bank guys in their early forties at around 10:30pm in the local. They were returning from the job, so out of curiosity i asked them If it was the usual time to return. Of course they said yes, and told me they won't reach home before 11, just to leave the other day at 5:30 am. I was severely surprised to find out that it had been their routine ever since. Now tell me- What kind of life is that?

They can surely be considered amongst the well paid middle class, but what for - Raising just a modest living even after so much pain.

Bombay is a city full of luxuries both necessary and unnecessary. Yes, here in Bombay you get to learn that luxuries can also be necessities, you can't live without certain luxuries that could have sounded utterly unnecessary earlier, but no more in Bombay.

My father says - 'Bombay is a city to enjoy for those who don't actually require to personally go and do business. The business creates money for them and they get to spend this automatically earned money.' These people actually enjoy the life in Bombay; all the others, however hefty pay packs or revenues they generate, have to lead a laborious life.

I feel whenever a new guy comes to this city, he gets transposed to the bigness of Bombay from his native place in three stages as mentioned underneath:

Excitement -- So many people around; so much to see; so many trains, buses, expensive cars, malls, hence the guy is so much excited; he travels in the local and shares the experiences with friends; experience a fight or an accident and narrates it with minute details to his relatives and so on and on. Hence, everything excites him like anything.

Boredom -- After a while, the same crowd that had created a sense of excitement, now is a source of constant trouble; the endless queues at the ticket window; daily pouts of fights both verbal and physical; uncaring attitude of passersby, and all the robotic attributes now appear mundane and boring.

Habit -- Now the time comes when the guy is completely acquainted with the vicissitudes of Bombay, he has experienced enough to start the mundane life without the minutest thought of excitement. For boredom, there is no time at all. In a way he got bored of getting bored and is no more bored in anything for that matter.
  • He is no more astonished looking at the queues longer than the great wall.
  • He no more fears at the look of heavily crowded buses and trains.
  • He doesn't care to say a sorry to the passerby whom he has overstepped.
  • He doesn't believe in creating relationships with the shop wallahs.
  • He goes to the job, comes back, to go back the next day.
So, this is how life changes for a guy from a small town (barring a couple of cities on this planet, all towns and cities are smaller when compared to Bombay). He becomes acquainted too quickly and rarely wishes to move out of this habit. No pain, no excitement, no feelings, just plain robotics.

He doesn't want to get out of this mechanical trail just like the train that knows nothing but to move on the same parallel tracks over and over again. He doesn't even think of moving back to his home town. A personality trainer in a workshop once said for Bombay

You can checkout anytime you like
But you can never leave...

(picking it from the famous song 'Hotel California' by
The Eagles).

But one thing is for sure, this city hates slow movers. Bombayites might not respect anything else but they definitely respect time. You have to be quick-moving, 7:32 local arrives precisely on time and you can not afford to even think of missing it.

Bombay creates quick movers, fast learners, pompous-flashy-socialites and laborers (yes not at all i've mistaken here). It can and will teach you high class management lessons but at a cost which might not be acceptable to you; but do you really think you have a choice against BOMBAY....No you don't have...Here

Bombay decide and we quietly reside..


Anonymous said...

Completely agree mate...I'm also living in Bombay from more than one year & right now, my life is in the excitement phase. Here, I have got to know the people from different parts of INDIA, there culture, there festivals, there experiences of life and a lot, which was something missing in my native place.

For me, Bombay is the mini-representation of whole INDIA.

However, the life of the people revolves 24X7 between Western, Central & Harbour(The three railway divisions of bombay), but Bombay is there destiny, and they will enjoy each moment of it.
Thats Bombay spirit!!!

sudharm baxi said...

Completely agree!!

Bombay is indeed soul of India..