Tuesday, February 08, 2011


The other day, my friend and I decided to catch up at the Kala Ghoda festival. It had been a while since we'd met. Lots had been going on in our lives - rather, a lot had been happening in his life. My life, well, there's always so much all the time. Or maybe, there isn't a lot happening. But whatever happens keeps repeating itself in a crazy, accelerated, demented fashion. Well, whatever the case, lengthy talks were in the offing. And a good sprinkle of colour and culture always goes well with conversation.

It was lovely and sunny when we reached. Art exhibits in Jehangir were quite stunning. My friend sketches. So he'd come up with these insights that had me peering at the canvases more closely and for longer. It makes such a difference - to look at paintings with someone who 'knownotices' (as in, someone who knows  and someone who notices.)

But that was that. Bereft of an agenda, we decided to go for a boat ride. I wonder why that's not part of the Kala Ghoda festival. It's such a lovely, gentle experience - a boat ride in the evening, watching citylights glitter as if the skyline is fluttering its eyelashes, quiet waves lulling and mesmerizing whoever looks at it...the sea is such a huge part of our culture. It's our art, our muse, our audience, our applause. It's everything.

A boat ride from Gateway is not just poetry. It's also action. There's daredevilry in hopping over boats, jumping into the launch and having young boys (most of them half your weight and size) lend their hands to help you out. All good fun.

Once inside the launch, you can pay ten bucks more and go up to the upper deck. (You pay sixty bucks for the 30 minute boat ride.) There, grab a chair, look out and wave to the people lining up the shore or turn your back to a receding world and stare into the waters. That day, the sea looked like large, soft creases on a magician's cape. My friend and I gave in to the hypnotism.

The spell was later broken by a friendly cameraman who insisted on us getting a picture. My friend vehemently opposed the idea, dismissing it off as something only lame and needy people do. As for me, I was not in the mood then. I must admit, though, that I am exactly that kind of lame and needy person often. The photographer started approaching other people on the deck and painted a compelling picture of his services.

First, he pointed to the 3 wings of Taj Mahal hotel and said, "Mumbai mein teen Taj hai." Then he did and said something that seemed to touch a chord - not just mine, but I think anyone who was there. For someone who has lived in the city forever now, who is visiting it only for a day, for whoever has been battered by its roughness or bruised by its kindness...for anyone to who Bombay beckoned or Mumbai cast aside - this photographer spoke  to them. He pointed to the sea, the horizon, and a big, crowded city becoming smaller. And he said, "Poori Mumbai tees rupay mein."

Who'd say no to a fantasy that's placed in the palm of your hands?

Of course, we got clicked. 


Manish Kumar Goyal said...

MKG likes it!

nadia said...

nice blog mentioned it in our Kalaghoda post :)

omnithere said...

show us the pic.. :)