It was 10 PM in the night. I disembarked from the train with two heavy pieces of luggage. I had barely managed to put those pieces on the platform to heave a sigh of relief that I felt a sudden jolt on my shoulder. Someone had just run into me, and without looking back, he zoomed past me onto the sky bridge. I didn’t chase him, but my eyes did, as he crossed the bridge, ran down the adjacent platform to catch a local train. The train was picking up speed and there were hordes of people standing at the each door, clearly displaying a sense of impossibility to enter. That’s what I thought, until I saw him give a similar thrust and jump into a door, quickly disappearing.
The year was 2011. The place — Borivali station, Bombay. But the memory, undeletable, because of his tenacity.
For some, Bombay is about the freedom it offers. It is arguably the most metropolitan city of India and allows to you to express yourself freely. You can walk on the roads at late nights without any fear of getting mugged. You have the freedom to wear whatever you like, can find whatever food you want to eat, and whatever class you want to emulate. With this freedom, comes great diversity.
Bombay is like Harvey Dent, two-faced. Salwars are as ubiquitous as shorts, and shoes as visible as crocs. Sleepers on Marine Drive promenade as frequent as the strollers and make-outs as common . There’s the rich of South Bombay who wear ripped denim jeans to look cool, and the poor of Dharavi who wear ragged jeans out of unaffordability. There’s the suit outside BKC waiting for an Uber and the clerk standing beside him waiting for his bus. And the face of this Dent that I like the most is the tenacious face.
Don’t let the dancing in Colaba Social fool you. Don’t let the make-outs on Bandstand fool you. Don’t let the happy hours in Juggheads fool you.
Everyone here fights. Some by their looks, some by their brains, and some by their hands.
Everyone here runs. Some for survival, some for stardom. But everyone for their dreams.
The tenacity of Bombay comes from the sea it kisses. It doesn’t stop in tides or ebbs, in rains or sun, in life or death. And so does the maximum city. And that’s the feeling that I like the most about Bombay, which I can’t get in the leisure of Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad is laid back, a city I’ll come back to in my forties after I have made a mark in the previous decades in Bombay.
This time, the skies were blue and clear when I left Ahmedabad. They soon morphed into grey and hazy when I reached Bombay. And as my life turns from clear to hazy, I stand at Nariman Point looking at the vast city ahead after a morning run, glad that the tenaciousness of the man and the city, has already started rubbing off on me.