Friday, December 5, 2008

My Goa in Bombay ( Mumbai)

I have been to Mumbai very often and have and even worked there for over a year. My first visit to MumMumbai Marine Drivebai was in 1990 and it was completely for economic and professional benefit and unlike many Goans who love Bombay, I never really did. Bombay ate into my whole psyche as it was. The lack of sanitation and the disregard for your neighbours calamity which for many a mumbaikar is a way of living, never caught up with me. I hopelessly remained the niz goencar ever happy to return back to his land every couple of months with pangs of homesickness of my beloved Goa sucking me out of Mumbai now and then.


But my association with the financial capital of India taught me a squillion things about our beautiful country. Over the years as my visits to Mumbai grew I have been able to understand the various things which actually make Mumbai a wonderful place for almost everyone to be in. Mumbai seems to have a ready answer to many of the country’s questions and therefore finds itself to be such a great destination for people from almost every walk of life, from all parts of India.

Mumbai's tough lessons
Mumbai taught me what Darwins “ survival of the the fittest” theory really meant, something that my school teacher failed to explain at school. The hustle and bustle of reaching to work by jumping over sleeping scaMumbai train rush hourvengers and running through a muslim graveyard and in fact over graves to catch the train at marine lines, the clamour to obtain a place to install a single foot in over packed trains, the struggle to grab a train seat before somebody else squeezes between your pants, the red double decked buses, the duping syndicates thirsting for victims in the otherwise beautiful Churchgate,, the desperate need for bargaining skills without which you can be conned hollow , the pick-pocketing mafias operating with one hand on your shoulder, the queue for lip smacking pao bhaji’s, tFashion Street Mumbaihe taste of the home-made Bombay street kulfis, the tile drumming singers in the trains ranting out melodies at random for a donation, , the truants of rickshaw-wallahs refusing to go short distance, The cheating cabbies who forget to refresh the meter untill it is too late and you are driven around the same building for the third time, the helplessness in the face of clap-happy eunuchs who promise to get fresh unless you freshen your purse, the chor bazaar which could have your shirt which disappeared last week appearing there for a fabulous discount , the famous fashion street offering all meagre folks’ some rich clothing, Crawford market loaded with stuff for which thare is a beeline from every part of India and the road leading to it infested with crooks moving in the streets , chira bazaar and dhobitalao where the goan air was always there etc etc.


All of the above few experiences made me a battle hardened person in Mumbai and I learnt most of the things the hard way. However looking back on it I do feel that everyonCrawford Market Mumbaie needs to have a hands-on experience in Mumbai to really get the feel of what Mumbai is capable of. Like they say, Mumbai has a place for everyone. You will find people sleeping peacefully in the din and clatter banging into their ears and you will also find nightbirds throughout the night as if Mumbai had a answer for everybody’s sleep and everyone’s insomnia.

Mumbai's smaller Goa
During my stay in Mumbai I was mostly confined to the urge of securing accommodation in the places most infested with Goans as I always felt the need of that lDhobitalao cafeittle Goan belonging. Most often my residential haunts used to be the bustling and almost perennial Goan habitat of Dhobitalao. But at some point or the other I have also found myself residing at places in marine lines, chira bazaar, charni road, grant road and mazgaon . Later on I did move to the suburbs where again the goan presence was strong. Places like mahim, Bandra, Khar and malad saw me picking up accommodation at different times . All places which caught my interest in Bombay were the places where I could go to the local church on Sunday and find the the familiar wanton chatter of Goans around me. I felt at home in such places. . It was rather strange. I would bump into a goencar whom I would hardly wish a greeting back in Goa. But in that alien place called Mumbai I was willing to hug him, put my arm over and push him to join me for a chai at bastani or kayani. Such seemed the desperation to meet and chat with a goan after a hard days' work that I did end up making many goan friends in Mumbai more than my quota back home in the Goa of those days.

Goan konkani in Mumbai
The very sound of Konkani emanating from any Mumbai corner would turn my head as if I was in orbit. And I had to offer my own Konkani dose to those conversations. I don’t think I was alone in this fantasy. All goans I reckon have similar sentiments when they are in different parts of the world. And that is precisely the reason why we find Goan associations sprouting up in every nook and corner of the world where a few Goans find themselves eligible to meet, share and cherish each others company. From the gulf, to the UK, from US to Australia, from Canada to Africa we have not only Goan associations but in some areas we also have goan village associations. Brilliant!


The Goan “Kudds” or clubs of Mumbai is another part of Goa that I am tempted to write about on this blog. However that experience is an unique one and an experience that this post would find longer to take and would therefore require another day. Indeed my days in Mumbai fill me with the nostalgia that I remember till this day and though I cannot say that I miss it, I certainly have some nice memories indeed.

I am currently feeling very sad about the Mumbai terror attacks which left so many innocent people dead, countless injured and some still fighting for life even as I write this. Besides the Taj hotel and the Oberoi trident have been subjected to brutality which fortunately did not result in their downfall.However they bear the hallmarks of our modern day Jallianwalla bagh with the massacre that they witnessed. The Taj especially has a great nostalgic belonging for every citizen and its rampage was seen with bleeding eyes. One hopes that the perpetrators of this heinous crime find themselves punished sooner than later.


Xittuk Goencar

1 comment:

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