Every since I started working in Worli, its been a 30 minute commute. I was used to a 5 minute commute to work or no commute. So, this sudden shift to 30 came as a shock initially. Till I realised that its actually 5.5 songs and some people watching and scenery watching that can make the 30 minutes look like 3.
The stereotypical man in a striped shirt with the Economic Times in his hand, as he tries to relax in the backseat of a car, which is too large for the Bombay roads starkly contrasts the whole queue of people who sit next to the Mahim mosque with the previous days Eco times or previous months Eco times (crumpled makeshift plate) for food, who do not have a care in the world except that piece of old naan they would receive. The little kid defecates in absolute oblivion under the Bandra flyover, as the entire corporate world of Bandra take the very same route turn away in avoidance (escapism at its best) and make it a pseudo topic of discussion at a party (the much spoken about disparity of income between the rich and the poor in Bombay). The same old traffic signal book vendors who try to sell me the 90 Rs Chetan Bhagat novels now smile in recognition that I detest the recent commercialisation of Indian authors (who should have stayed in their air conditioned investment banks), under the false genre of ‘Indian Literature’. The traffic jam in Mahim causeway (which was the perfect excuse to anyone who was running late for a meeting) does turn out to be a traffic jam.. pleasant to find out some excuses are for real. The view of the Sea Link brings back some memorie.. ooooh.. delightfully compensating for the blaring horns in the traffic jam.. When will people ever learn that honking does not facilitate red to green. The Siddhi Vinayak signal is a living example of people who have absolutely no driving sense – firstly, they are speeding towards the temple… the minute they spot the temple 20 metres away, they slow down abruptly with some bumper kissing… then, they remove both hands away from the steering wheel and start doing the entire criss cross holding ear and touching cheek Ganesha movement with their hands… looking 45 degrees to the left and not ahead…. forgetting the important fact that, when you are in a 4 wheeler, doing something called driving, you need to be looking ahead with your hands on vehicle control… Well, they survive this blind ride due to faith. So, I heard.
It sounds like Im ranting about the ride. Not true. There are some unexpected pleasant elements to the ride too. When and if I take the shortcut through Chapel road towards Lilavati, I wave out to the meat shop owner, who is probably the only person who really felt my exit from my previous organisation. I used to take that very route to work every day for 4.5 years and wishing him or waving to him was a part of my daily routine. So, now, I make it a point to take that route every once in a blue moon. I love the wind in my face as the taxi speeds down the Shivaji park section, the only freeway on route. And there is this particular barricaded land, just before reaching Shivaji park, which has asbestos sheets with random colours that catches your eye…. with a boring message about not trespassing, but still the colours make up. Just before reaching Doordarshan tower, there is a construction coming up on the left side and the construction walls are built in such a way there are thin gaps between them and they let the sunlight stream through and create striped shadows on the road. As the taxi was slowing down in this particular patch, the music I was listening to was this nice Latin reggae number, which hopped and skipped… matching the hopping and skipping of the shadows as the vehicles drove by obstructing the shadows. One minute you see a line and the next minute, its done…. looked like piano keys on the street going in perfect sync with the music I was listening to. An unforgettable moment that would stay on my mind forever.
Every morning is different. Depends on the music. Depends on the weather. Depends on the traffic. Depends on the coffee I drank or not drank. And depends on my taxi driver, who takes a route, that I don’t ask him to, suprising me with whatever is in store…