Monday, 23 March 2009
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Then they ask, “You never write about Bombay. Why?” And you mumble Delhi, the present, London, childhood and other such suitably enigmatic words. But you know they have lost you at ‘Why’. So like millions of other moments this one too passes into oblivion, even before it has had its moment. Nothing learnt, nothing unlearnt. All appropriately reduced to nothingness but for a flutter in your brain caused by the two words ‘Bombay’ and ‘why’.
It isn’t the first time that these words have been juxtaposed. And neither is it hard to write about Bombay. Bombay encompasses everything that connotes fantasy and reality. The word itself is infused with innumerable tales and adventures, so much so that one can’t utter it without summoning multitudinous visions shared by over a billion people. And even if it is whispered in the most intimate recesses of the heart all it’s associations and summations are a part of our private folklore. Our grand history. The simple story of our life. Oft repeated in moments struggling to hang onto this side of oblivion.
All that remains are discarded fragments. A certain shade of orange, the bark of a tree, the moon swooning behind Haji Ali, the flap of bat wings, a golden chariot drawn by seven horses riding huge black clouds, a window and sparrows, four kids and a little black dog, hens on trees, more clouds, yellow flower and red car, breakfast and sunsets. So on and so forth. Someday when it’s time to empty the dustpan we shall see what does the word Bombay really convey.