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Bombay dreams

Bombay never ceases to surprise me. She's not a friend you can take for granted. Neither is she a sibling you share a sense of mundane familiarity with. She's a spouse who surprises you with dimensions you wouldn't have anticipated in spite of a seemingly smooth marriage. This knowledge is not something that can be passed on. It needs to be experienced first hand. Again, pretty much like marriage.

I started to discover new facets to this city after using its lifeline, the local trains. I wasn't really looking forward to daily train rides after having been pampered with a 10 minute commute by rickshaw to work. Grudgingly, I started using the locals everyday. The 7 station ride in a not-so-crowded route helped me rediscover the joy of staring. I love starting at people. Because every person has a story. Every story is real, deep, shallow & hurried. But every story is as interesting as the next one and equally uninteresting. Also, every story is incomplete. Most of them are forgotten before you get off the train. Some of them haunt you. Not in a spooky way. Its the kinds that suddenly shakes you out of sleep and keeps you awake in contemplation.

Nothing disturbs me like the children I see on the train. Not the noisy ones that throw their weight around and have no manners. The ones that hold huge baskets in their tiny hands and sell the most precious things. They sell tiny stickers, cute pens, dainty hair clips, water bottles with comic characters, key chains, pretty frocks and everything else that they deserve to own. Children no older than 6 or 7 deftly juggle the many baskets that they carry, safely put the cash from the sale away (not to mention, do perfect math!) and take care of kids younger than them. Just when you think they're have no childhood left in them, they jump up and swing from the bars on top of the train and playfully wrestle with each other. When they see you watching, they flash a broken toothed grin and look every bit the 6-year old that they're supposed to. One such adorable little boy saw my camera and asked me to take a picture of him. Seeing himself on the screen made him so proud that he called all of his to show them his picture and skipped away.

Bombay never ceases to surprise me. There's so much to see if only you'd keep your eyes open. There is no guarantee you'll like everything that you see. But then again, there's no such guarantee in life.??

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One thought on “Bombay dreams

  1. I lived in Bombay for a couple of years and visit it every few weeks (proximity to my present base Pune) and I love it as much I hate it. But I too was in awe of the stories on the trains, on Marine drive and the many shop owners of Grant Road Market. But then I thought, you would find similar stories almost everywhere in India. Bombay is just the easiest window we get to gaze into these extraordinary lives.PS: Loved the photograph.

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