It is well known — at least anyone who lives in
It could well be that
I would even put it that food is more important to a Bengali than to anyone else in India and several towns and villages in Bengal are identified only by some typical foodstuff — but that’s as far as it goes. It’s food, not the essence of self that is under discussion.
We delight in what we are and we delight in agonising over it. This process gives us character. Town versus burbs, North versus South, once obscure satellite towns versus once obscure suburbs. Till even 15 years ago, a person who worked in Borivili would say he had to go to ‘
These are very real problems for some and hence the mad scramble to keep the quaintness of
For someone who has lived most of their life in this city— including the formative years, but who has also lived elsewhere — some of the newfound hand-wringing manufactured nostalgia can be amusing. There is some little brouhaha going on over the beautification of the zoo. It cannot be denied that
Many of these preservers have not grown up in
Perhaps not so strangely, since these ‘new’ saviours have not spent a lot of time on the top of Malabar Hill — Cafe Naaz closed down almost a decade ago — the quite cute uglification of Kamala Nehru Park with its ‘amphitheatre’ done up in what look like bathroom tiles has not bothered anyone much. Malabar Hill has become too remote and so has slipped out of our consciousness.
So we will shop in the malls on the New Link Roads in Andheri and Malad, though 15 years ago that part of Andheri had vast tracts of marshland and Malad was a quiet sleepy suburb, leading on to quiet fishing villages. If you arrive in
The older inhabitants also want to preserve those parts which they live in and you still meet that endearing tribe for whom
Then there are those politicians who run this city. Sharad Pawar wants to encourage people to drink more wine. His party member, R R Patil, who is also the state’s deputy chief minister, is a late arrival in this city, so he found dance bars deeply offensive. They were not common in his hometown. They have no magic for him, only an upsurge of morality. The chief minister finds no resonance in
But it ought not to be forgotten — even by those regulars at the city’s ‘pubs’ that the pubs themselves are new: 1992 onwards. Up to the 1970s, there was prohibition in
When you round it all up, what it amounts to is very little and yet very large. You come to
Yes, there will also be some of us who know more about
(Ranjona Banerji is a deputy editor with DNA in