Portrait Of A City
If you are travelling from the South and if your train moves into a station filled with the sounds of vada pav, vada pav, you are most likely in Maharashtra. Maharashtra should be called the Vada paav state. They say that everyone from the richest people in Bombay to the kings-of-the-road folks are fond of this junk food item. A vada paav is nothing piece of bhaji-type of preparation packed in a bread piece (paav). I was fasting one day and when a companion offerred a vada pav to me, I got the opportunity to taste it. Even though I was very hungry at that time and would have eaten anything, vada pav made a favourable impression on me. On weekends, I take it with a bottle of chocolate milk. It is a good combination and I like it very much. And, that’s the only thing I like about Bombay because everything else about this city sucks. Yes, it does.
Bombay Newspapers Suck: After I landed in Bombay for the first time, I was surprised to find that The Hindu does not have a Bombay edition. Later, I cam to know that The Times of India did not have a Madras edition. Apparently, the publishers of both these newspapers have bound themselves by an unwritten agreement to not to publish in each other’s bastion of strength. For someone who had grown up reading The Hindu, The Times will be a poor subsitute. They have Jug Suraiya and Shobha De on the editorial page. These two, like many others at The Times, may be good columnists but they are not definitely editorial-page material. The Times is full of useless information about film stars and models. It is like getting up every morning and reading Kumudam for your daily news. Things are so bad that it is fighting a do-or-die battle with a tabloid called Mid Day. I tried reading The Asian Age but it was the same case there too. Besides that, they had a great deal of news content from foreign newspapers. On Saturdays, they bring out a whole New York Times supplement complete with the NYT masthead. The only newspaper that does not suck is The Free Press Journal. Unlike the Times and the Age, FPJ is a bold and objective newspaper. Surprisingly, it costs only one rupee! I later learned that the Madras edition of The Hindu was available in Bombay. Monthly subscription comes to around Rs. 150 because the paper is flown in by air. Finally, I am able to read news about my beloved Tamil Nadu.
Bombay Men Suck: The first lesson in How To Be A Wimp says don’t keep a moustache. Most North Indians pass this lesson in flying colors. Marathi men, at least most of them, I am happy to note, fail the lesson. Well, that’s about it. All men in Bommbay are wimps. Example: A failed model called Preeti Jain accused film director Madhur Bhandarkar (Chandini Bar) of rape. She said that she slept with Bhandarkar after he had promised big roles in his films. But when these big roles did not materialise, she felt she had been raped. The director, instead of boldly defending himself by saying that the sex was consensual and hence cannot be termed as rape, went absconding, as though he had been caught shooting a black buck.† Feminists went crazy. “Casting couch!”, they said. They accussed the director of exploiting an innocent woman. Nobody asked if it wasn’t wrong to offer sex as an incentive. If a woman offers sex as a favour, does not that make her a slut? When the media met her, she gave professional poses to the photographers – on the sofa, beside the window, etc. I could not understand it. And, since when did telling a lie to get someone in bed become a crime? Men do that and women do that. It is an accepted fact of life. Even among, married couples, such lies abound. LIES, NOT LOVE, MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND.
|He||His Wife||What He Tells Her
She Is Like
|Horny Toad||Pretentious Bitch||Phillum Ishtaar|
Bombay Sun Sucks: One day I woke up at 7.20 in the evening. I walked outside to see that it was still like daylight. Was my watch wrong? I asked someone what the time and he confirmed it was half past seven. What’s wrong with this place? The Sun doesn’t set here. I was told that because Bombay is on the west coast and since the sun sets in the West, it takes a while for the darkness to be ushered in. I thought India was near the equator and this sort of thing happened near the poles. It is not like we are in Sweeden or Norway. Message to Bombay: Hide your sun. It sucks.
Bombay Moon Sucks: When people say they have had up to this with something, they mean that metaphorically. When I say I have had up to this with Bombay, I mean it literally. On July 26, there was a big flood in Bombay and I had water up to my neck. As Mark Twain’s mother told him, scoundrels born to be hanged are safe in water. It was an adventure of sorts but it did make realise for the first time in my life that I lived in a Third World country. When I saw things like floods or disasters on TV, I knew it would never affect me. It never rains in Madras. There are only two types of weather in Madras – hot and hotter. Anyway, I climbed on to a private bus and squatted on the roof before others did because I expected darkness to fall in a short time. It never happened. When disaster strikes, there is always complete darkness. If you had seen the movie Titanic¤, the lights go out only in the end when the luxury liner goes up full vertical and sinks in. Had it been an Indian ship, the lights would have gone at the first sign of trouble. So, I am sitting on the bus expecting the worst and there was no sign of darkness. People stayed on their feet. The entire city was without electricity. It was half past eleven. Yet, I could see everyone and everything around me. The sky was lit up by the moon. I got off the bus and joined a band of men who were braving the waters by forming a human chain. Bombay moon sucks.
Bombay Cable Sucks: When I was in Madras, I used to watch at least one hour of cartoons every day. In Bombay, all cartoons are dubbed in Hindi and I stopped watching. Mel Blanc’s voice and dialogues simply cannot be dubbed.
Bombay Bus Stations Sucks: People here stand in lines to get into a bus. Queues are okay for railway statios. Bus stations should be a free for all. It is un-Indian to stand in line for a bus. These traitors should be shot.
Bombay Disasters Suck: The meek, the Bible informs, inherit the earth. Cocky ones like me, it seems, inherit the heavens. On Black Tuesday, I had seen the water level rise. First, two-wheelers and autos stopped working. Then, it was the turn of cars to get stranded. Only buses were working. When it pours like this in Madras (during cyclones), it usually lasts for several days. I did not want to get stranded in the office and left Marol to break for Sakinaka. There would have been serious problems with water and toilet facilities if it lasted for beyond the night. Unfortunately or fortunately, it was a massive cloudburst and did not last beyond 3.30 next morrow. As I walked the water level came above my waist. Strangely, at Sakinaka signal, there was not even a cm of waterlogging. As, I went farther, the water level again rose and some people moving in the opposite direction informed us there was no way up and asked us to turn back. I don’t listen to pussies and I ignored the advice. Soon, water was up to my neck level. And, wherever there was a road turning left or right water came with such force that there was no way to move further. I took refuge on top of a bus for a few hours. After, that I waded through the water by joining a human chain and waited inside a shop with several others. When the rain stopped in the early hours of the morning, water started receding as well. The place where I stay had gone under water and on the floor where I sleep, water had come up to a foot level. My bag was wet. My TV had escaped the waters by a foot. I took my bag and went to a hotel. They would not accept my debit card because there was no power or telecom link to validate the payment transaction. They would accept only cash and informed me I could enjoy their hospitality without without power. Most ATMs were down because of lack of power. By 10 o’clock Wednesday, power had been restored in some areas and I hit pay dirt at the third ATM. I withdrew money and went back to the hotel and spent the day washing my clothes. When I left, I stole the candle they had put in my room. This was a smart move because all shops had by then exhausted their supply of candles. I drank only mineral water for the next few days but still managed to get cold because I had gone to sleep as usual without drying my hair first.
Bombay News Channels Suck: The cloudburst lasted for less than a day but news channels made it burst for more than a week. Everyone was getting STD calls from anxious relatives from the rest of the country. No amount of explaining was useful. It rained lightly for the next few days but that was not the image carried by the news channels. A landslide had occurred in Sakinaka but made the media made it out as though all of Sakinaka was now under rock and rubble. Foreign news were no different. A large number of buffaloes from the farms near the airport had been washed up on to the tarmac preventing airplanes from landing. Now, they were telling the world that Bombay was awash with water and dead buffaloes. I guess they would have had a better perspective after the Katrina disaster. In New Orleans, there were human bodies floating around and no one seemed to care. Women were raped, police were shot at, and there was widespread looting. None of this happened in Bombay. Hmmm… At the hotel, cable was gone and DD News was the only channel available. DD News was a strange contrast with the private news channels that I go to see later because it was covering a totally different kind of disaster – Sonia Gandhi – all the time. They should rename this channel as Sonia News and disinvest it in favour of the the Congress.
† – This sort of pussiness is not limited to high society. One ordinary young man was recently jailed after her girlfriend accused him of rape. No actual rape occurred – he had refused to marry her. Women in Bombay rule! You could be an insignficant piece of dung but your girlfriend could get a life-size photo of yours on the front page of the Mid Day if she puts her mind to it. In Bombay, it seems that wheels of justice work tirelessly for women who are nothing but overgrown spoilt children. In rural areas, the situation is exactly the opposite. According to Kalpana Sharma of The Hindu, eight women get raped every hour in India. (I don’t know how she got this statistics because she also said most of the cases went unreported.) The police usually refuse to register an FIR in these cases.
¤ – I DID NOT go to a theatre to see this film! It was being shown illegally on cable and I watched. That’s all.
* – not complete
- ok like oh my god… bombay does not suck and thats quite rich comming from someone who’s from madras… while i do agree that bom has many things to work on, i dont see the reason why people are so vile and viscious to the city that bloody pays most of the taxes in this nation… we are not a bunch of lazy louts who shuts the city by 8 pm and everything is derserted… now i am partial to madras cuz its my hometown but being a girl, i would much rather live in this city than newhere else. also, the moral highground which people take in madras is ridiculous… As for newspapers tho, u are spot on. Freedom in bombay is unparalleled…bombay sucks only on one ground-that shobha de on editorial sucks..not the city. – Shaila
- I think Mumbai is the only place in India where everyone feels empowered. It is the only place in India where anyone can dream to think big (not just people in software).It is the only place in India where women can come back home from work without fear at 10.00 in the night. Mumbai is a vibrant city and has a lots to offer to all the classes of society. It is the only place in India to which people from all over the country look up to pay the taxes !!!! Mumbai is the only place in India where people from across the country (not just madrasi lungi or a punjab da puttar or bangal ka babu) live happily speaking our national language HINDI. – Mumbai Rocker