I take a stroll down Fashion Street and turn just before it intersects Flora Fountain. That’s where Fashion Street, which is actually M.G. Road meets H.S.Marg. (In Bombay, everybody being in a big hurry and all, we shorten all the long names into short monikers.) I see the towering telecommunication tower ahead of me and think of what it represents, the communication, the phoning of each other across continents. Just these random thoughts float through my mind. Then I turn and walk towards Victoria Terminus (V.T. to all of us), where I hunt for a waste bin. Nowhere there! It was here yesterday. What happened? Then I see a stub from where it has been torn, uprooted and taken away, for whatever it is worth. The street-livers are active around here, tearing out a few tiles here, a garbage bin here, a few bars of steel there, till the streets all look as if it has been chewed and spitted by a giant animal. Then I walk towards V.T., and there’s muck there all around and people carefully stepping around puddles of dirty water, and water drips from the ceiling and collects in little pools. And then men come and sweep the water a way and it collects again. There’s nothing like engineering here, just “thook patti,” just “spit and stick.” It strikes me as if Bombay is just “thook patti,” a monster spitting and then sticking together the office complexes, factories, mills, the housing estates and the Parsi Baughs (gardens), which are actually Parsi housing colonies.
Then I see the old Public Works Department (PWD) building. It was a crumbling and shabby building on Murzban road which is being renovated. I hated the look of this drab building. I hated it. Now the building is being re-developed nicely and I am glad as I see the wooden covering on the elaborate balconies. The old is giving way to the new, preserving the old while some city areas rot. They rot because of the corruption that goes into constructing anything in the city. It’s a xenophobic city that way. Anything new faces immediate disassemblement, a word I coined. When there is sadness there is also hope and happiness in some places.
(Just wrote this for fun. I am reading Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer” and I hope you can detect traces of his style. Hehe)