Bombay & dreams both sorely missed
The first thing that I want back is the name we knew this city by. Bombay, the good old Bombay I had dreamt of coming to. The name itself had a dreamy quality to it, it sounded like Shanghai to me. Mumbai sounds too much like Beijing, bilkul thanda.
I would also like to bring back to it the old names that we knew the landmarks by. Chhatrapati Shivaji was a great warrior, but does it mean that we call every place by his name? If so, let Balasaheb Thackeray change his name to Shivaji Thackeray, and his party be called Shivaji Sena. Let him rename all his children Shivaji 1, 2 and 3.
Give me back my dance bars, the place that gave us fantasies before we knew them. They were safe for women and men, and had great charm to it.
I’d like back my right to smoke in restaurants. Okay, at least in the Smoking Section of it. They should have banned cigarettes instead, no? But politicians don't have the gumption to do that.
Please also give back my night spots, those bhel puri stalls and keema paavs at Charni Road and tawa pulavs that I could go for late in the nights. They pose no security threats. The double decker buses that all kids delight in, where have they disappeared? I loved rushing up and getting to the front as the city spread out before me.
I never saw the trams, only heard about them. Though the tram tracks did exist till 1993 and then they disappeared. Whatever mystery those tracks provided is gone too. I hope the ones in Sewri still exist, or much of history will be lost.
Oh yes, please can someone save the Irani cafés? The very few that are left should be declared the heritage of the city and it should be declared a crime to buy them out.
In effect, give me back the city I fell in love with. The late-night concerts, the Independence Rock that could go on and the fearlessness with which we lived.
How the world has progressed only for us to become more afraid. And if there is god, please prove it by defeating all these dirty politicians who play up the caste, language and other non-issues to destroy the city’s cosmopolitan spirit.
Till then, this is just a wish-list. And I remain a non-believer