Thursday, June 5, 2008

Two Lists

FOUR THINGS I LIKE ABOUT BOMBAY

1. MARINE DRIVE: *long dreamy sigh*

Me sitting on Marine Drive

2. LOCAL TIME: The solar time in Bombay is just over an hour behind Calcutta. That meant I could get up later by the clock, and still catch the dawn – the best part of the day.

3. THE COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE: Gothic, art deco, neo-classical – you see it in all in South Bombay. And it’s not just the public buildings: some of the older private houses in Cuffe Parade are equally pretty, with wooden facades, sloping roofs and flowers in the window (such a lovelyday / I’m gladyoufeel the same). I spent hours taking long walking tours and gawking at the buildings, leaving an army of bemused pedestrians and irate motorists in my wake.

A building in the Fort Area where I did a due diligence

4. LOCAL TRAINS: No matter how rich you are, you can’t make traffic move faster. So in Bombay, there is only one human institution that makes a Bandra pub-hopper the equal of a Dharavi scavenger, that makes a Koli fisherwoman the equal of a Dalal Street investor. That institution is the local train.


FOUR THINGS I DON’T LIKE ABOUT BOMBAY

1. MODES OF ADDRESS: The two common methods that the natives use to attract people’s attention in Bombay are (a) shouting “Boss” and (b) making a squeaky whistling sound produced by puckering the lips and drawing the breath inward. For some reason, I find both of these intensely annoying. The latter sounds positively obscene.

2. NAMES OF STREETS AND CHOWKS: Bombay municipal authorities suffer from a perpetual frenzy of renaming. Almost all the roads and chowks are named after obscure people, and are therefore difficult to pronounce and impossible to remember. Fortunately, the new names remain on paper, while the old names, like ETEC diarrhoea and the sacred Vedas, are orally transmitted. There are therefore two Bombays – the road-map Bombay, and the Bombay that lives in people’s memories.

See what I'm talking about?

3. NO ROLLS: This is one of the things I missed most about Calcutta as a city. Bombay has its own version called the Frankie, which is a pale imitation of the real thing. A kind of roll is also sold in Muslim eateries which is a delicacy in its own right. But the absence of the roll from Bombay street-food leaves a gaping vacuum.

4. MULTIPLE BUS STOPS: This is the civic administration’s little prank upon the citizens. See Anuj’s blog for more details.

A BEST bus wondering where it ought to halt

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rahul Saha said...
Squeky whistling? Never happened to me. Maybe you were being hit upon.

ayan said...
You haven't mentioned anything about how brilliant and humble people of Mumbai are.

Doubletake, Doublethink. said...
YOU QUOTED TRAVIS.

you have no idea how kicked i am about that, i always think of that song when i'm at my aunt's in bombay.

little boxes said...
yes yes squeaky whistling...i know what you talking about.
and the shop keepers call me "baby" and i could slap them for that

A.K. Visalakshi said...
Only two of the 4,678 lists you made in your short stint here?

Abhiroop said...
In List I, I'd personally add, if possible....

1. Ajay Abhayankar... may he live a million years!!!!

In List II: the annoying guard from Sewa Niketan.... may be rot in hell!!!

Jayantika Ganguly said...
Oh yes, I agree, I agree! Still dread the local trains, though!!

Sroyon said...
@saha: You must have moved in elite circles, you...you...socialite!

@ayan: Yes, humble. As evidenced by your comment.

No, seriously, I just concentrated on the trivial things and left out the profound. You'll notice I haven't talked about the poverty and overcrowding either.

@doubletake: I'm glad you feel the same :D

@little boxes: I'd advise you to refrain. They don't know any better. But I thought you're based in Delhi?

@visa: Look who's talking, look who's talking.

*points at visa*

The list legend herself.

@abhiroop: Personally, I would include them too, but I just restricted my post to what the casual visitor would experience.

@jayantika: Hope you get used to them soon! And hope you find more things to like about Bombay than dislike.

Indecision Personified! said...
Nice post!... I AGREE about that wierd whistling... soooo irritating and so demeaning.. and you would think only the 'roadside lafangas'would do it.. but NO.. heard ppl calling waiters like that in one of the 'decent' restaurants on marine drive!!!!

and why this word verification before comment posting? why? why?

little boxes said...
based?
ahem i am studying there..they dont call me "baby" there.
they call me "chhori" and i use expletives in reply!

little boxes said...
oh damn,i missed ur point as usual.
sis stays in delhi...so go there every now and then