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?