The Crazy City of Mumbai

posted Sep 2, 2011, 2:26 PM by Prashant Bhattacharji   [ updated Sep 2, 2011, 3:36 PM ]
Note that many of the photographs in this post were clicked with a Sony K750i mobile phone.

I lived in Mumbai ( July 2006 to September 2007 ) and I used to work at (now defunct) Lehman Brothers which was acquired by the Japanes group, Nomura in 2008 - after Lehman collapsed.
Mumbai is certainly a crazy city. The life of an average Mumbaikar is nothing to be envious about - spending two to three hours in a dirty and overcrowded local train - coming back at night to collapse in an 800 sq ft apartment for which he/she probably shells out a third of his monthly salary. It is certainly a city of contrasts. The biggest of buildings and the biggest of slums. Mukesh Ambani's mansion and Dharavi. 
The city survives on two sides of the Railway track. The first is the Western railway line - from Borivali to Malad to Andheri to Bombay Central. Then you have the Central Railway line - Thane to Dadar to Bombay CST ( formerly Victoria Terminus ). A few people die almost every day on these railway tracks. You can almost never think of going out on the roads and not getting trapped in a traffic jam, The aerial view of the city is nothing but one big sprawling slum. The disparity in living conditions will shock anyone entering the city for the first time. It symbolizes everything which went wrong in India. You have the Bandra crowd who behave as if they happened to be in the 51st state of the United States, entirely oblivious to the problems around them and dwelling in a make believe world of their own. And everywhere from the sidewalks to the railway platforms you have the poor and homeless people, who migrated to Mumbai from their small towns and villages, to what they believed to be a "City of Dreams", only to realize that our country didn't have much of a dream to offer to someone who was born poor. When I think of Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad or Bangalore; a lot of positive thoughts come into my mind. But when I see Mumbai I cannot be anything by cynical. Anyway, here are some of the nicer clicks from the city. 

Left To Right:

The Victoria Terminus ( Now Mumbai Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus): This was built in 1887 and is one of the first stations built in India. Marks the terminating point for Central Railway trains ( coming from the East, South and a few trains which come from the North via Central India ).

The Air India Building at Nariman Point: Clicked sometime in 2006, while chilling out next to Marine Drive. South Mumbai is definitely much calmer than the rest of the city.

The Gateway of India: This was built when King George V and Queen Mary came to Bombay before heading to the Delhi Durbar in December 1911.

Below the three pictures: A beach near Marine Drive

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Some clicks of the Taj Hotel :

Right: The old wing of the Taj Hotel. Mumbai's first harbor landmark, built 21 years before the Gateway of India and the site of the first licensed bar in the city. ( As per: tajhotels.com )
Left: The Tower of the Taj - a more recent construction. 
It was a really distressing sight to see the Taj Hotel dome go up in flames in the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai in 2008.

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Below- Hiranandani Gardens: 
This is where I stayed. This is located away from the extreme hustle and bustle of the city, in the corner of Powai - which was once a relatively remote area but no longer appears to be safe from the population tsunami. The buildings and the architecture in this area make it very unlike the rest of Mumbai. One of the much nicer areas for sure. It is also rather self sufficient. There is a nice super market, eating places, hotels, bars, corporate offices and a go-carting track. 

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A view of Hiranandani clicked from my Lehman office in Winchester Building:

The Powai Lake in the background, the hills and the three residential towers certainly make this picture one of my favorite clicks from my stay in Mumbai. 


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