Mumbai meri jaan

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A couple of days ago I ventured further north into Mumbai for a party. I say ventured because while it was the party of a great friend and something I had looked forward to but it was further away than I was comfortable driving at night. Comfortable in Mumbai is somehow not related to the distance but to localities one visited years ago and now was returning to them, hoping nothing had changed in them and seeing them to have changed completely.

And in the last few months that I have returned to the city, I seem to be spouting this litany the most.. OMG Mumbai has changed… it has more tall, taller, tallest buildings, more cars, narrower strips of roads despite major road widening programmes, more cars, more short tempers, more cynics and so on and so forth.

The biggest change for me.. has been my locality. I live in Andheri west and near a mini-town called Lokhandwala. I say near because for the longest time, while it was a coveted address, it was also a hell hole for traffic jams and parking and water problems. So I used to gloat saying I didn’t live in Lokhandwala.

We moved to this house nearly 25 years ago. At that point my school bus didn’t make it to this corner. And a couple of years later when Esselworld opened, it was like going out of town.. it was thaaaat far away.

But change has crept in and not slowly but rapidly but way of reclaimed land and multiplexes.. and malls .. and boutiques and big departmental stores that deliver and specialty food restaurants.. and in the bargain making a community area where u rarely need to venture out.

Each and every surburb from Bandra onwards… especiallyAndheri and beyond is becoming insulated. Gone are the days when you went to Dadar to buy flowers or fabrics, Vile Parle to buy vegetables and Jogeshwari to buy fake antique furniture.

Nowadays, you don’t need to move out of your own suburb at all — whether it’s shopping, fine dining, movies, entertaining, exercising, hanging out or any such group activity.

Is that happening in every city or is Mumbai only the (un)lucky one?

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4 responses »

  1. Its nt just Bombay…it’s everywhere. I spent close to a good 5 months, not getting out of Koregaon Park at all. Not that I was complaining, of course. KP is a good area to not get out of. And in Delhi, I have talked to localites who couldnt even pronounce ‘Rajouri garden’ (so out of the fray is the locality.) I won’t even begin talking about what they thought of Noida. Its strange they seem to hold Gurgaon in higher esteem.

    But yeah – I think the rapid, disproportionate exponential development drive has just started spawning a host of communities that would rather mingle only with those who live close-by. Its convenience, of course, and who can blame them and all.

    I just know how many friends I would get to see if I suggested they meet me in Vashi or Sion or Chembur. But Bandra! Bingo! Everybody’s there.

    The world is a wonderful land with many splendid wells, and we all live in them and croak. (It can be the first line of a lovely nursery rhyme, na?)

  2. everywhere. 3 huge malls have opened behind my house.. on the way to your old place. cinema theatres. and of course all the shopping one might possibly want. nowhere to go and nothing to do anymore.

  3. Everywhere. Everywhere. I hate it myself even though I can now buy a lot of things in my little ‘gaon’! The only positive thing which people keep pointing out to me is the escalated price of my bought-at-a-pittance little house 🙂

  4. Isn’t it the most wonderful thing to happen? Good fish and latest movies all within 20-minute auto ride. Now all I need is for office to come to Lokhandwala. Now that would be Utopia gained.

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