BENGALURU: I have been in Mumbai for the last 20-odd days and every morning as I inhale large gulps of the sea air, I miss my ooru! It’s strange, isn’t it? A city that was my home for most of my adult life, where my in-laws and my daughter and granddaughter (my biggest attraction) reside, has me pining to go back to the city of my birth. Not many people love Mumbai.
They find it large, impersonal and non-inclusive. A city that is always in a hurry never sleeps, has no concept of neighbourliness and a city where one is evaluated by the clothes you wear, the car you drive and the size of your bank accounts and investments.
Whew! A long list indeed, but never further than the truth. Mumbai is like any mega metropolis the world over. Not bundled with the weight of bureaucracy, the city runs like clockwork to sustain itself as one of the largest financial capitals in the world. Way back in the day when I worked in Mumbai, I asked the then police commissioner, Julio Ribeiro, why so many people migrated into the city. His answer was concise and simple. He said, ‘Nobody dies of hunger here’.
All of us who have lived here have witnessed the way the inhabitants of this mighty city, come together to help people in need. Here, you don’t belong to the north or the south and caste, colour and creed have no place in the grand scheme of things. Migrant or not…nothing trumps being a ‘Mumbaiker’.
This city has witnessed bomb blasts, riots floods and pestilence (Covid) in the most severe form…but like true warriors, the people have tackled it headlong and helped each other out in the most unimaginable sense. Benefaction is in their DNA.
A city of dreams where one can realise one’s dreams in many different ways. Comparisons are odious! Each city is defined by its own kaleidoscope of experiences. Bengaluru has an easygoing vibe that can be both charming and irritating! Everyone has a pace at which they work and rushing them seems to bring out the worst in them. I have seen a couple of news clips of the normal ‘chill-madi’ Bengaluru techie, auto-driver and our local folk going quite ballistic about the language issue.
Now there seems to be a south-south divide! I sincerely hope that our ‘men in white’ don’t fan these sentiments and let us ‘ooru-wallas’ be. We have always been the envy of all the other cities for our ‘chillax’ attitude, weather and inclusiveness. Yes! We tend to be a little laid-back work-wise but it’s the beautiful weather that is at fault!
However, our bureaucracy tries to cut us down, like the proverbial Gulmohur tree our mangled roots sprout fresh shoots every time we are chopped. I miss my city, but my family here goes all out to cheer me up. A gaggle of us went to an old haunt that we used to frequent during our school days in Mumbai.
The Ling’s Pavillion hasn’t changed much as the food is still good and the portions even better. With my young friend Danish Ansari’s myriad of medical complaints about eating fresh and good food and Ling’s Pavillion came out as a winner. Absence makes the heart grow fonder right?