I’m reading this book by John Malathronas. – Brazil – Life, Blood & Soul. No guesses why I would buy a book with Brazil on the title. Anyway, within the first chapter itself, I find myself closing the book and getting into a very deep thinking exercise. John says ‘every city has an anthropomorphic image’. Firstly, I had to go and look up anthropomorphic. Wikipedia – Thank you! Anthropomorphism is a term coined in the mid 1700s to refer to any attribution of human characteristics (or characteristics assumed to belong only to humans) to non-human animals or non-living things, phenomena, material states and objects or abstract concepts, such as god(s). I guess the definition really doesn’t matter. The author has written statements about 4 cities – London, New York, Paris and Rio. Here they are –
London is a City gent in a striped double-breasted suit, holding his chin up as he rushes by without an umbrella in spitting rain.
New York is a loudmouthed, overweight baseball fan, cap and all, who pushes you away from the salt beef deli queue as you fumble for your change.
Paris is a chic grand-dame, ex-model, ex-actress, her make-up dextrously applied, who walks her Pekinese in the Jardin de Luxembourg.
And Rio is a calliphygian (refers to shapely buttocks) copper-coloured beauty, as naked as Eve, dancing in stiletto shoes to the blast of beating drums.
All this got me thinking. Just got me thinking about what is Mumbai’s line. And, I wrote this on the tube ride back home. And, I’m not very happy with it.
To me, Mumbai is the Rickshaw driver who tells you his life story and is certain that he is going to make it big. Mumbai is also the Taxi driver who refuses to take you a short distance. Mumbai is the lady who worries about whether her son would complain about the cauliflower she plans to cook that night, the one that she chops as she is riding the local train back home, after a long day at work. Mumbai is also the bunch of rich women, who spend more time on manicures and designer shopping than with their kids. Mumbai is the dancer who doesn’t want to give up her dreams of Bollywood. Mumbai is also a group of 19 year olds who sneak into a club, drink and smoke and spend more money than what a Bollywood extra dancer would make the entire month. Mumbai is the serious business graduate in a pin-striped shirt, burning the midnight oil trying to make his variable pay. Mumbai is also the lucky son, who inherited his dad’s business, without knowing much about it. Mumbai is the young college graduate, who is working on his American accent to answer customer service calls from God knows where. Mumbai is also the lost artist, who blends into galleries even better than the champagne glasses. Mumbai is the girl who runs away from home, because her parents want her to marry someone she can’t imagine even spending 5 minutes with. Mumbai is the crazy lover, who would marry the guy and then find a boyfriend. Mumbai is the helpful uncle, who gives you directions, when you are completely lost in a new city. Mumbai is the painful shopkeeper who refuses to budge from his original price, when you pride yourself on bargaining. Mumbai is the kid who never gets tired, rain or sunshine, selling books in the traffic signal and making just enough money to afford one meal. Mumbai is everything and nothing.
If you can think of what could be Mumbai’s line, let me know. If you have a picture for Mumbai, send it to me. I’ll just keep adding it here and hopefully, I’ll get back to finishing that book.