A few days ago, I met a friend at Bandra. Despite traveling off-peak hours, we battled huge and heavy traffic and were late for our meeting by forty minutes. Several things made up for the delay. My friend, MG's fiesty raconteur skills, delish veg Zinger burgers at KFC (there is something sublime about any combination that is spicy and batter-fried), and a trip to town.
For some weird reason I had to get into a general compartment instead of the ladies one. It was packed and I must say that I was not prepared for the civility I encountered there. The men tried to make way for me as much as they could. A gruff uncle told me to stand tucked away near the windows so that I could get a seat quicker. I told him I'd stand anyway. It was only fair since there were so many people waiting for an empty seat before me. There was no yelling or scratching. (The ladies could definitely learn something from these guys.) And there were these small moments that make my heart surge with happiness. No-one misbehaved, no-one passed a comment, and no-one stared. It was just so decent and good.
At Parel, two eunuchs got into the train. There was a British couple seated next to me. So, one eunuch looked at them and told the other one, "Unse paise maang." (Ask them for money.) The other one collecting a few bucks from a tired Sudoku enthusiast shook his head and said, "Arrey nahin re...un log ke yahaan recession chaalu hai." (No, those guys have a recession going on.) We are nothing if not considerate. Also dubiously informed and opinionated, but doesn't matter. The heart's in the right place.
Then my friend and I went to the book exhibition at Sunderbhai hall. Book feasting over, we thought of nurturing our slightly eroded selves. So, we went to Nariman Point.
That place...that place...it has the direct, phantasmagoric mysticism of any natural wonder of the world. It is concrete, all right. But it is the concrete of a memory, of a soul, of a song.
It was raining when we reached there. We were at the rocks at NCPA and the entire skyline just diffused and melted into monsoony greyness. The sea was lush and turbulent, those tripod-like wave blasters looked like giant, wet ochre gems, and we saw so many crabs shuttling in and out of crevices. The magic, however, was in the rain drops that fell on the edge of the granite bulwarks. As soon as they would hit the granite, they'd transform into dancing drops of mercury and skip away in the wind! It was such a joy just watching that.
When we sat on our haunches studying little globules of skittish perfection, there was beauty. When we stood looking at the wide horizon swept with silver memories, there was beauty. When we lost ourselves in the ebb and flow of the friendly waves, there was beauty. When we stood soaking in the rain with our palms outstretched foolishly, catching spittles of goodness, there was beauty. And finally, what struck me as truly awesome, was surveying the skyline right up to Malabar Hill. Because of the mist and fog, the sharp silhouette of the high-rises got hazy and blurred until they blended in seamlessly with a fuzzy beyond. You couldn't see the tip of Malabar Hill at all. In fact, from where we were standing, it looked as if the city just slowly exhaled away itself.
That is Nariman Point. And I dare say, that is forever.