Wednesday, July 12, 2006

On Mumbai/Bombay/Bambai/whatever

Exactly what is this city called? I can just see airport destination signs in the year 2015 giving up in multicultural exasperation.

Via Indianwriting, comes this little snippet from The Moor's Last Sigh:

Bombay was central, had been so from the moment of its creation: the bastard child of a Portuguese-English wedding, and yet the most Indian of Indian cities. In Bombay all Indias met and merged. In Bombay, too, all-India met what-was-not-India, what came across the black water to flow into our veins...Bombay was central; all rivers flowed into its human sea. It was an ocean of stories; we were all its narrators, and everybody talked at once.

So like I said, yesterday, all there was left for me to do was to look through my address book and write to all the people I knew. Looking at that email today (I can't seem to get very much done) I realise that the seven people I sent it to comprised one Tamilian married to a Punjabi, one Parsi, one cousin of aforementioned Parsi who is Roman Catholic, one Gujarati Muslim who is married to a Bengali Hindu, one Kannadiga who has actually spent more time in Cal and Bombay than anywhere else, one Maharashtrian who would actually call herself Bangalorean and is married to a Tamilian, and one Tamilian who is married to a Bengali. (shrug) I'm not trying to run a cute national integration ad. In Mumbai, this is how it will always be.

'...the only truly cosmopolitan city in South Asia...' Salil Tripathi calls it.

Innteresting but only if the world over, people were cosmopolitan in letter and spirit, what happend in Mumbai would never have happned.

I hope the cosmopolitan spirit spreads far and wide both in style and substance.
So senseless, so meaningless an attack. Why? Why? Why?
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