Surreality Show

He called me the gatekeeper of the great suburban conscience of Mumbai.

Am I? Each time I write something serious about the city, I’m reminded of a friend bitching about the ultra-intellectual types who eat at McDonalds and come out and talk about the poor people in the country. Am I one of them? Does the city give you a choice, surrounded as you are with surreal constrasts?

Here’s something I spotted a couple of weeks ago in the wee hours of the morning. Presumably the store is one of the many designer boutiques that dot the fashionable area of Juhu. Do they know that at night, their porch turns into a bedroom? Perhaps they do, considering our man has a pseudo-four-poster bed with a mosquito net tied into corners. And the faithful guard lies in waiting, a few feet away.


In the middle of this melancholic week, I don’t find cheer even in my favorite streetside philosophers. Today’s autorickshaw spotting reminds me that this city runs on money, money, money.

Maal hain to mohabbat hain (If you’ve got money, you’ve got love)

If you’re wondering what the word ‘surreal’ means outside of a Dali painting, you know where to look it up, now. What’s left for me to say?

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4 thoughts on “Surreality Show

  1. Sharanya April 30, 2009 at 15:53 Reply

    It's so good to know that other people obssess about "this great, ruined metropolis" (in Rushdie's words) too, inspite of living in it. Bombay has overwhelmed me so much, I even wrote a whole novel on it. Of course, nothing happened to the novel, but Bombay remains, as usual, biting through it all..


    • IdeaSmith May 5, 2009 at 10:22 Reply

      @ Sharanya: It is the muse, it is the hellhole, it is the mother-ship, it is home. I'd love to read the novel, btw.


  2. Ms Taggart May 2, 2009 at 18:18 Reply

    Did you read the book Shantaram? If not, you should read that… I am already in love with Bombay without even having spent a single week there… Bombay apart, thats a beautiful book.. when I read this post, I was suddenly reminded of the chapter I am reading in Shantaram today… Awesomely beautiful book!


    • IdeaSmith May 5, 2009 at 10:22 Reply

      @ Ms Taggart: I have read parts of it. With all due respect, I really think no book can truly capture the real experience of living in this city. It is surreal.


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