mumbai — once a city

Maruti Naik
2 min readOct 2, 2023
at home in Goa — where i must return

Some videos surfaced recently of commuters forcing themselves into trains as they have always done; this one video where someone was hoisted out by the crowd was something new. Almost felt like a rockstar flinging himself onto the audience; of course our man was trying his level best to get in. Then there was another one; slow mo this time, ladies scrambling to get a seat, falling over each other.

I believe this is just symbolic of the mad rush we have got into; whatever little spirit is left is crushed to smithereens every day and we come back the next day not so much to excel but somehow to just survive. We do this for 5 days (not everyone has the luxury of WFH) and then we retreat into our homes for the weekend. Binge watch something, order take outs, catch up with friends and family.

Travel in Mumbai has now reached chaotic levels, the last few days seem different courtesy the long weekend — Mumbai has practically emptied. The hordes will be back today evening and the great cycle will continue. Not that we have not tried; a flurry of flyovers, now double decker ones, the Metro lines which are taking forever to complete are a few examples but all they have done is kick the can down the road.

My city has developed not by any planning — its always been the builders who reclaim, then the infrastructure — even basic roads, street lighting etc comes up. That cycle continues. Now we have the coastal road project which will obliterate the sea out of the equation, changing our coast line forever. And all for some motorists.

The simplest thing is to go for a massive upgrade of public transport but we have always succumbed to the temptation of some or the other vanity project which look good on advertisements and now drone shots. Restructuring of zones where offices can come up — BKC is just way too expensive for anyone — may now just about be impossible. We will also capture whatever remains of Alibag very soon now that the sea link is nearing completion.

So i guess we will see more of those videos, with ultra high definition, time lapse, panorama and what have you. This is Mumbai, we would make light of our misery; now we just make money of it.

As we move on from Ganapati and Mount Mary festivals, segueing into Dandiya, Diwali card parties and then get ready to usher in 2024, i wish all creators that holy grail - Virality.

May we survive our own selves. May we survive this life we have chosen.

--

--

Maruti Naik

I write to remember. I write to remain honest. I write to leave a bread crumb trail for my daughter. I write to relax. Trying to impress my better half, I write