Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Visting South Bombay

Yesterday, Gordon and I met near Regal Cinema (South Bombay). This was first chance to go to south Bombay after 26/11. My walk from CST station to Regal cinema did not feel any different. The same old crowded streets with people running around, street peddlers trying to sell their wares, cars honking, it felt like my same old Bombay to me. One change that i saw, was the metal detectors at CST station and more police presence. But, i did not feel any tension in the air. It seemed business as usual in south Bombay.

Gordon suggested we have our lunch at Leopold Cafe. This is where all the mayhem started on the 26/11. I had never been to this cafe before. At first look, the place seemed like any other cafe in Bombay except there were more foreign customers than Indians. The bullet holes have not been repaired and apparently they wont be. I saw many people come to the cafe just to see these bullet holes. We were sitting next to a pillar which had a mark indicating that a bullet had brushed past it. The food was actually pretty good albiet expensive.
Again, i did not feel unsafe or threatened. The people around me also seemed to be relaxed and enjoying their food. So much for the people who have tried to strike fear in our hearts.

We then walked towards the gateway of India around the Taj. I could see the renovation work going on on the Taj. It is very comendable of the TATA group to get the Taj Hotel, a symbol of Bombay, up running again in no time. As for the Gateway of India itself, it just the seemed the same old to me. We sat on the ledge near the water. From there i could see the people - tourists, couples, peddlers, friends and even the pigeons. Everyone was back and having a good time there. So did I.

I do not know if this is Bombay's resilience or apathy. Being the person I am, i hope it is Bombay's never say die attitude that was on display. I did not feel unsafe in south Bombay even for a milli second. Thanks to all the people - the police, the commandos, the doctors, the media - everyone who helped Bombay and its people on the 26/11 and days ensuing it. God bless them all and their families.

It is nice to back in Bombay and experience the things I love about my city - the food, the people, the train, the sea and everthing that makes Bombay the maximum city. No one person or group can change that.