Friday, April 22, 2011

Mumbai Diaries-I

The joining location was mentioned as Mumbai in my internship letter and incidentally it was the first time ever, I would grace this city inhabited by our fellow earthlings with my exalted presence. However, somehow the very thought of spending sixty days in the least economic city of the country started giving me goose bumps. Apprehensive of a should-be-more stipend, plummeting bank balance ever since I began my so called pursuit of higher education and an ongoing (still wonder whether it’s ever historical) inflation (whatever it is, the end result makes us consumers poorer and the sellers richer and that’s exactly where they get their BMWs and iphones from), second thoughts of balking it altogether and doing some phoney summers at my hometown seemed a lot more appealing. Thoughts of having home cooked food seemed to manifest as countless delectable dishes right at my study table. Futility of a weak-will against biryani converted into a call to the concerned human resources executive. 

                                   Globalization seems to have bestowed certain inadvertent benefits on both employment and employability. Projecting clerical and routine tasks as momentous ones created executive out of mere clerks and supervising those without even the faintest idea of what it entails, created managers (of course this is what we are supposed to do). This surely means more jobs (however redundant) for the same quantum of work and perhaps even menial quality.  But it does not necessitate dividing the same piece of pie; it’s more like making additional figmental pie out of thin air (note that the marginal cost of producing it is zero) while promising intangible and non-existent benefits such as quality and consistency. It can take a while to understand what the term consistency really means. It can be put in a few words as, “Truly replicating the same level of hopelessness over a much broader time horizon”.
Fancy thoughts always seem much more comforting than genuine words. The executive surely could not cite her incompetence or lack of authority in assigning a new location. Instead she included a few management buzzwords like career opportunity; financial capital and broad scope in his conversation rather deftly about which I am sure that neither of us had even the foggiest idea. I even tried to note a few of them for future utility. It was still a hard bargain for me even though I knew that none of those words stood by their dictionary meanings. But still, there had to be something in my resume to brag about for a stretch of an hour or so during placement interviews.

These turn of events finally led my joining at a Mumbai location. One of my friends had booked a lodge for our stay and it turned out to be pretty good decision afterwards. It was cozy enough with the number of bed-bugs and cockroaches just below the lower limit of endurance and shoddy enough not to charge a supernormal rent at an already posh locality. And of course, the thoughts of some random rendezvous with Katrina or Genelia (for the uninitiated, they are bollywood stars who still have both age and beauty at their side) during some unknown shoots at marine drive had been crossing my mind like umpteen times.
We quickly found out the cheapest and quickest shortcuts to convey to our offices. It was again another posh locality where these rich wasted and crazy psychotics had access to only the latest models of Audis, BMWs and Mercs. They comprised a major chunk of vehicular traffic like Altos and Santros elsewhere. Nevertheless these psychos inculcated a regular practice of a certain type of we can call it as neck yoga. It is like identifying a BMW from the logo on the bonnet and quickly turning your head to grasp the model from the trunk as it speeds away. Pretty fast, uh! Looking around for others, it seems some pre-destined wannabes have inborn neck-turnaround flexibilities, sometimes turning their necks till a knot is established. I will report if they develop two or more knots, for we could be on the verge of discovering some alien wannabes from a lesser planet. I still want to find out the proportion of wannabes who still manage to make the jump to at least a Honda City.
                                          The good part is that this city seems to have an innate style of welcoming visitors in umpteen ways. Even with a broken Hindi accent, you can manage to get almost anything in this city, discounting purple dinosaurs and their pretty precedents. One of our South-Indian friends who normally manages to scare off small time snack vendors, is actually managing a pretty decent life here. I had suspected myself to be agoraphobic but these suspicions seem to have dissolved away. An overcrowded and ever-rushing city, still manages to embezzle anxiety out of your mind. One of the greatest memories which will perhaps remain with me for a lifetime is watching India lift the World Cup’2011 trophy, a journey which has been an absolute phenomenon. Mortal absence at the Wankhede, could not inhibit its electric atmosphere from being mirrored all over this city and especially at the Irish. Though the Mumbaikars seem busy in their own little universes they still manage time to help you create yours, but with an obvious discount to your fancies and fantasies.
It still seems a long way to go from here, till the advent of a less cruel summer with a bit of drizzle from the heavens. Speaking of some nostalgia, I still miss the serene life at the hillock. Even in all the glitz of the city after dusk.


  1. It can take a while to understand what the term consistency really means. It can be put in a few words as, “Truly replicating the same level of hopelessness over a much broader time horizon”.

    :) ... Good One ...

    Nice sort n crisp description of the Mumbai Life . Loved it and note the fact that after reading "Shantaraam" I thought that I can never read a better story about Mumbai ... But your story struck a chord with its own simple narrative . Kudos ...

  2. thanks bidi. but wasn't that a kind of our usual irony!!

  3. Nice one Sonik...ur blog makes one want to visit Mumbai and feel its spirit at least once in a lifetime..

  4. @nav- does it! I'm real happy then