The not so little village of Bombay, the cobblestone streets of what we used to call the suburbs. Mainstream Mumbai of today with happening corners and still interesting village alleys rubbing shoulders with each other. A walk able pavement, but an ‘ istriwala’ blocks half, the next section is taken up by a lovely old peepul tree with a quaint temple around it.
That lady with her cotton dhoti and chequered blouse carrying the smart shopping bag works in 4 different flats. Speaks a smattering of English, does the daily shopping for all four workplaces, cooks their meals in record time and retires to her little basti around the corner where chickens still run in the street, the fish lady brings her basket around in the morning and a smart little advertising executive rents the little room above her house. They have village weddings and rocking parties in the little courtyard and each deals with the loud music of the other.
In every area, around almost every corner is a happening little bar or restaurant, you can aspire to pay huge sums for some well presented, pretentious piece of art on a plate or pay a quarter for a sumptuous feast of great fish curry and rice. Street corners sell health food and junk food in adjacent stalls.
The bread man still brings a bag full of goodies to your door, you could actually wake up to the cawing of the birds in the great tree outside your window. You get transport from anywhere to any where at any hour of the day or night.
It’s all rather dirtily swept, there’s a pervasive odour of ‘Bombay’, the sense of fashion is completely individualistic, you get glamour, style, funk, comfortable, ill fitting and downright nothing, but all worn with a sense of ease. There is zest, purpose and busy ness all around, the drivers are polite and they all have a story.
I so enjoy this city.