It has been six months since I felt excited about moving to a new city. I was moving into Mumbai, the place to realize the Indian American dream, the land of Bollywood, and the city that adorns the Queen’s necklace. This is where ordinary becomes extraordinary. Everyone dreamed of their rags to riches story, everyone could have one here. But I was deeply disappointed. The castrated dreams litter the Mumbai city – plastic, superficial and non-biodegradable, while the rain washed away most tears, left irreparable signs of damage. The cracks on the walls are filled with cement that looks like crawling worms. It takes one worm for a bad apple and one bad apple to corrupt the others.
Nothing in this city has impressed me. People say that I do not live in the main part of Mumbai and I will not know the heart beat of the city. To all of them I say if the pulse is strong it will travel the distance to reach my ears. I do get my feet wet, treading the waters during the weekends. If having people staring right into my face, inches from my eyes where things go blur and being a part of the crowded trains where one can seriously catch any contagious disease and surviving that ordeal is part of the Mumbai culture I would rather live in another city. The old buildings of historical importance seem to be cornered in the city. High rise buildings with blue tinted windows spread across the skyscape, dwarfing the buildings, which were considered to be the epitome of architecture.
Not dwelling into the other horrible facets of the city, I would like to point out one integral and amazing aspect of this place – attitude of the people despite being in a frying pan. Mumbai’s sweltering “around-the-year” heat still has not managed to anger anybody here. Dazzling dresses are worn, thick jeans, figure hugging tops, sarees with heavy-work that will bleed you dry and still there is a smile on everyone’s face along with the dripping sweat. Being a new entrant to the city, I haven’t figured out how to plaster that smile on. Although, I have definitely figured how to bear a jeans in the heat!