Some people believed that the world was flat and that ships would fall off the horizon. Well I think so too; ever since I spent time at Nariman Point in Mumbai.
I was brought up in Mumbai from the age of 1 to 8. Fragments of old bloated memories always come to me when some of my specific senses are tinkered around with. When I get wet in the rain in Delhi, I always close my eyes. When the water starts to trickle down my face from my hair, somehow, I’m transported, quite vividly, to a memory which has me walking back from my school on Hill Road, in my peach raincoat and red gumboots. I loved the rain. I smiled back then, when I chose to let go of the BEST, and walked instead through the small little lanes which had small decorated idols of Jesus at every crossroad. I walked back alone, happy and smiling. When the water starts to trickle down my face from my hair, I smile. I smile because I’m alone, happy and living two lives at the same time.
A few months back, my close friend forced me to watch Dhobi Ghat. I heard people say it was pretentious and pseudo-intellectual. I trust my friends more than people, so I watched it. Surprisingly, the opening scene managed to give me goose bumps. When Yasmin draws down the classic Mumbai taxi’s window in the rain to show a grey and gloomy Marine Drive, with silhouettes of people walking in the rain, children and couples, I seemed to touch a huge empty space within me. My mind seemed to look inwards to find out why my content soul felt so hollow all of a sudden.
My dad had this red Kinetic Honda scooter. My mom sat behind him and I stood in the front on the footrest and we went all the way to South Bombay from Bandra. We had less; in the sense of luxury, in the sense of sophistication, in the sense of purchasing power; and yet that drive to the South seemed to give us everything we dreamt of. It put all our complaints, aspirations, struggle and deep exhales on a standstill – just for those few hours. At the Gateway of India, my dad crushed the shells of Moongphalis and put the nuts in my hand. At Nariman Point, I sat, with the breeze on my face, complaining about the stupid water body having no sand at its shore. I loved making huge sand mountains and putting my foot through it before I left. Instead there were these giant, ugly, black rocks all over. It started raining. We crossed the road and I stood under a shed watching the blue of the skyline slowly return from the grey. We drove back. Sundays were always good.
I smiled. I was alone, happy and living two lives at the same time.
On 6th June, I was at the Nariman Point, with a dear friend. I was there because of my curiosity; a curiosity that was a smooth blend of nostalgia and to find an answer to my empty space within. I sat there and looked into the sea; without trying to think, understand or realize anything. I saw ships which were tiny due to the distance and seemed stationary due to the distance again. Then I thought – It’s because of the sea that the ships have their power. It’s because of the water, that ships could conquer distances. It’s because of love that a soul can express. It’s because of love that souls can communicate. It’s because of humanity there exists family, religion and government. The ships never try to overpower the sea. Then why does this world try to overpower humanity?
This question filled the hollow space in me; but only a little.
I was at the corner of the world; a corner from which I could see everything in a clearer perspective (or what I seem is clearer than from the centre of the world). This question answered a lot with respect to the career I’m looking forward to as an Industrial Designer and my want to improve living conditions of the poor. I promised I’d come back again – and I’d keep coming till the unexplained hollow space in me fills up.
And ever since, that corner of the world became mine.
Visit http://shutterbugged.blogspot.in/2012/02/marine-drive-mornings-1.html for beautiful pictures of Marine Drive.
PS : Dhobi Ghat is an excellent movie.