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Mumbai on a black horse

17 February 2009
Posted in: Scratchpad | 5 Comments

Over the past seven days I’ve had the opportunity to visit two of India’s original four metro cities — Chennai (Madras) and Mumbai (Bombay). Nothing unusual in itself, but it so happens that I’d never set foot in either city, even though I’ve lived in the others (Delhi and Kolkata [Calcutta]).

Mumbai, of course, was to participate in the Kalaghoda Arts Festival, an annual event marked by shows, exhibitions, screenings, concerts, workshops and more. I was invited to participate in a panel discussion titled “The New Boom: Fiction for Young Adults”. Moderated by Anita Roy, the other panellists were Paro Anand, Sayoni Basu and Anshumani Ruddra.

We mainly talked about the new interest being generated in the “new” genre called young adult and the scene in an Indian context. It takes on a special relevance in today’s times when youngsters are exposed to a huge amount of information, but have relatively fewer resources to process it. The question of “appropriateness” and tackling of difficult issues also came up, as did the subject of fantasy and escapism. It was a small but involved crowd, and the session sadly short as the moderator had a flight to catch!

My adventures in Bombay had started the previous night, when I found myself stranded at the airport. A friend of a friend, however, kindly rescued me, and I found myself revived enough to try out the one activity that Bombay would have been incomplete without: travelling on the local trains.

With my ego bruised after my father had unceremoniously declared that the trains were beyond me, I eventually managed to travel around the city without having to resort to a taxi. The trains were quite an experience, though I avoided rush hour. The lifeline of the city, the Mumbai Suburban Rail is also among the most unsafe railway systems in the world, accounting for about about 10 deaths a day!

Thankfully, one did not become a fatality statistic, which enabled one to travel to Pondicherry the following weekend for the Auroville Marathon. It was my first running event (5k joining run) and ended with a quick visit to Chennai on the way back.

Stay tuned for the Pondi post. Meanwhile, I have some photos, but because PicasaWeb hates me, I can’t seem to upload the others. Will update soon, hopefully.

~PD

5 Responses

  1. Niklas says:

    I likes the bottle wall. It looks very shiny and pretty. If the bottles had been a bit tapered they could have built an igloo on the beach for me to live in 😀

    Payal Dhar-ling was also bad for not having included any photos of herself. If you don’t have photos of yourself, there isn’t any proof of you having actually been there and done the brave things you claim, like traveling the deadly trains or running 5km for miles and miles.

  2. Payal says:

    Oh there are photos of the 5km thing, as you’ll see later. I don’t have any photos in Bombay because I was there by myself and there was no one to take piccies of me.

  3. Proteeti says:

    You’d never been to Bombay? 😯 Oh well – I’ve never been to Chennai myself – in fact, I’ve not travelled further south than Goa! What did you think of Bombay, though? And I agree – the local trains are quite an experience. I’m not sure I’d try travelling on them on my own, though, so I do admire your bravery! Where was the Kalaghoda festival held (which part of the city, that is?)

    Enjoyed the pics – and was that ‘filthy beach’ Juhu? It is filthy, from what I remember – but great fun!

  4. Payal says:

    Kalaghoda is the name of the area itself. It was near Churchgate (at least that’s the station I had to get off at and walk down). Yes, that filthy beach is Juhu… I didn’t go anywhere near the water!

  5. Swapna says:

    “Payal Dhar-ling” *rolling around in laughter for over 5 mins*

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