Last year, to the day I was sitting twiddling my thumbs at the departure lounge of Delhi's Terminal 1A waiting for my Indian Airlines flight to take off. It never did, so the entire sho-sha put on by the Snake and Double T, including mala's and all went to waste. I eventually left Delhi two weeks later. Both my father and my step-father had gone to Bombay on 26/07/2005 morning for a day's work, they were both supposed to be back in the evening, they both returned three days later. My dad who was interviewing a Bollywood superstar spent six hours getting from Mahalaxmi to Bandra. Most of my friends were fine, but some of them had to walk on the roof of cars to get home that day, at least they had power at Pali Naka.
Today, a year on I happened to go to Kalina. It was bright and sunny outside, autos and BEST buses were jostling with each other on the roads and the smell of half-burnt hydrocarbons filled the air. Everything seemed normal. But since last July, civic facilities haven't become dramatically better, sure some roads her and there have improved, but somehow you do feel that a bad rainshower will bring this city to its knees again. That said, 950mm would have brought any city in the world to its knees.
But since 26/7/05 we've had 11/7/06. This city deserves better. Much better! I will miss Bombay when I leave eventually, because I know I will never call this city home like millions of other immigrants - I love this city at so many levels but its attitude and its people above all. Yet, you just can't live here for too long. Something about living in a city like Delhi, despite its myriad of problems spoils you. Godammit, I miss parks and gardens and trees, wide roads, things like that - infrastructure basically.
This city deserves so much better, and I hope to god it gets it. Bombay is not Shanghai, it ain't London or New York. It is Bombay, don't ever forget it!
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