Well I'm in Bombay! You know how sometimes you'll see something and suddenly realise why they have a certain phrase or word for it? Well for Bombay the word's vibrant.
On my way in, even as the plane went dangerously close to the slums right before the airport, in my head, almost like some sort of premonition of things to come, I could hear this totally awesome background music building. Anyway, from the minute I saw it, I began to subconsciously compare it and only the other day when I was thinking about how Ill go about this post, it struck me just how much like Dubai this place is.
They've got malls, people dressed up, shopping, food, clean roads, beaches, sunsets, sky scrapers, buildings, cabs, Indians, different names for different areas which is accepted as common knowledge to all who've set foot here...they have it all and yet- there's something more.
There's something about the way thousands of people will walk around this city, doing their own thing, leading their own lives, secluded in a less physical way, yet they all seem to have this one common factor-that theyre in Bombay! For some reason, still quite inexplicable to me, everytime I look out of a cab, I can literally drown in the vibe this place gives off.
See the stores and the restaurants aren't dead consumeristic outlets, they're a place to be. The buildings aren't just boring function aimed structures, they've got culture, memories, reason, energy, and in some cases- gargoyles! YES! GARGOYLES!
It's not a row of shops in a symmetrical pattern, it's a bunch of guys running stores their own way with people they know and people who know them! Cabs aren't uniform vehicles, theyre each so incredibly unique, and outdated which just adds to it. Every cab will have a differnt interior or a different sticker on the back or front or sides-anywhere! Every building will have it's official name and the name people actually call it. Every store has a guy with a different way of looking at things. The beach isn't clean and healthy, its messy and beautiful! I ate dog meat thinking it was mutton! It's not a place you HAVE to be in for money or for work, it's a place you LOVE to be in. It's a culture, a vibe, a way of life, a stamp, light or dark but always permanent on who you are, it's validation almost, that you've been a part of the buzz and can be proud. It's beautiful!
To me, Bombay is sort of like Mother India's bachelor son, still in his twenties having a blast, loving and being loved, as opposed to say- Jaipur, which is the more regal diplomatic kid with degrees and responsibilities!
I've been here 10 days now, and that's nothing, but no city has ever hit me the way this one has. Maybe I want to love it, maybe I'm conditioning myself out of fear of hating it, maybe I'm expecting too much- or too little for that matter. Perhaps it's that there's history behind it, and there's a culture that people have adhered to for decades, as opposed to Dubai's still goo-goo-gah-gah-ing age. Perhaps it's that Bombay's chosen to be Bombay, and not part US, English, Dutch, African, Indian and Muslim! All I know is I'm in Bombay and I feel good!