|Apropos Mr. Nana Chudasama’s I Love Mumbai show, I have this to say: I love Bombay, but I am not quite sure if I love Mumbai.I love Bombay where the roads were washed every morning, street by street, and swept twice a day; where trams tolled along the length and breadth of the city and you could travel from Sassoon Dock to King’s Circle for an anna (Six Paise); where postmen tied putees round their legs and bus conductors punched tickets on a toll and often presented the empty tolls to children; where Air-India was owned by the Tatas and the leader of the textile workers was Comrade Dange; where people kept Dalmatians and Golden Retrivers and took them for walks at a building-less Cuffe Parade; where evey street corner was an Irani restaurant and you could beek your Sunday 6.30 cinema ticket on the telephone; where on a monthly salary of Rs.125 you could live like a king (well, perhaps, not like a king, but like a lord).
I don’t like Mumbai where the city has expanded into housing board tenements and hutment colonies and where you have to buy flats and not rent them; where ragged children and pie dogs scavenge among the garbage; where victories are banned from most roads taxi drivers take you only to destinations of their choices; where a little pedestrian subway across the road takes loner construct than three tunnels in the sea-bed joining England with France; where paintings are not sold but auctioned and where art galleries hold sales of ladies’ kaftans; where the conservancy staff is either on strike or not working; where the old Bornby Road has been turned into a bazar of fake imported goods.
I love Bonbay where you could buy a secondhand paperback for four annas (25 paise) and a new one for Rs. 1.50; where the suburns started at Worli and Bandra was a green Goan vilage; where the only Arabs in town were Arab horses at Mahalaxmi and Jimmy Bharucha used to give riding lessons in the Oval; where one stadium was enough to play cricket and the Taj was the only five-star hotel; where there were no barbed wires around the Gateway and police officers looked like police officers and not pot-bellied businessmen in khaki; where if you wanted an evening’s drive you got into the ‘C’ route at R.C. Church and rode along Marnie Drive to Tardeo and back.
I don’t much care for Mumbai where one-third on strike and one-third on work to rule; where if you want to take the family out of town in the summer you have to book seats in the train the winter before; where the dominant smell is that of urine and you have to go through a train-load of commuters to find one smiling face.
Of course, I may be totally wrong. Perhaps, there I no difference between the Bombay where S.K. Patil was the mayor and Frank Moraes the sheriff, and the Mumbai where Chhagan Bhujbal is the mayor and Nana Chudasama the sheriff