Mumbai - The Magical City of Dreams
Mumbai - The Magical City of Dreams | 2010-09-12 00:00:01

Photograph by Amardeep Singh, Article by Deependra Hamal

Mumbai Skyline The pragmatic amongst us boast of this 'maximum' city as the financial, industrial and glamour capital of India - the powerhouse of India's growth since independence. The poetic ones deem this city to be the cynosure of tens of millions of dreams. But when I think of Mumbai, what overwhelms me is how this city represents, ever since its conception, an indomitable tale of sheer human endeavour. The coalescing of an archipelago of seven disparate islands scattered in the Arabian Sea into a single land mass - the foundation of modern Mumbai seen in this image - not only bespeaks of the triumph of human spirit but has, over the decades, lent to this city a characteristic quintessence, that of an all-embracing land of endless opportunities.

As dusk descends, the stars in the sky look down with envy at the glittering city outshining their illumination, more so with every passing day. The city refuses to sleep, and every soul is wound up in the struggle to turn dreams into reality - be it the small lad humming a Bollywood song as he sells ‘cutting-chai’ in his ‘mohalla’, the anorexic wannabe model who would die - or kill - to be on Page 3, the shop-owner who silently hopes that he has missed out on a zero somewhere while reconciling his daily ledger, the mill-worker who detests and yet takes pride in his ‘chawl’, the broker whose heart-beat follows the stock markets with absolute scientific accuracy, or the washer-woman sighing unobtrusively in the slums, the lines between 'aspiration' and 'survival' having faded in her eyes. Nevertheless, this race for success, space and survival has steeled the collective determination of this city to never halt. Come monsoonal floods, terrorist attacks or divisive political campaigns ... this city may turn and have a look, bleed if it has to, but nay … it won't stop!

Mumbai at NightAs a microcosm of India, Mumbai represents a melting point of all diversities imaginable - people from numerous religions, ethnicities and ideologies flock this city and in doing so they intertwine their destinies with millions others. When I look at this city from this vantage point, I not only see the most expensive real estate in South Asia, or an international economic juggernaut, but I see a Mumbai where millions of small dreams are realized … a Mumbai where the ‘Lalbaugcha Raja’ procession rests for a couple minutes at the ‘Hindustani Masjid’ every year … a Mumbai where a little boy bravely clings onto his rickety umbrella until the rains gets to him, at which point he throws it up in the air and starts dancing in the rain ... that’s the Mumbai I see.

Deependra Hamal is from the Mumbai Unmute team. A storyteller, motivator, entertainer ... a patient negotiator and undying campaigner. He currently works as a senior technologist for a leading investment bank in Mumbai. He occasionally posts his thoughts at http://deependra-hamal.blogspot.com/ You can get in touch with him at deependra.hamal[at]gmail.com.