MUMBAI – MERI JAAN: AN ODE TO THE CITY OF DREAMS
As part of my first job in the early ’90s, I was transferred from Pune to the magical city of Bombay. The city remained close to my heart for 8 long years. Speaking of matters of the heart, some trivia about the city. Bombay or “Bam Bahia”, as it was called during the Portuguese rule, was given in dowry when Princess Catherine Braganza of Portugal married Charles II of England.
As a bachelor, I stayed as a Paying Guest in Pali Hills. My flatmate, over 6 feet with his leather boots, was an aspiring “B” grade actor. Every day he made rounds of the Film City, hoping to strike an audition. Wonder whether he made it big.
After marriage, I moved to Raheja Estate, Borivali East, just adjacent to the colony is the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. It was full of large open spaces and lush greenery – a great luxury to have in Bombay. The 2000-year-old Buddhist Kanheri Caves are located inside this park.
After my daughter was born, we moved closer to my office to shorten the commute and shifted to Hiranandani Society, Powai, a very modern and well-equipped society. Over time, after getting to know my neighbours well, I realised that they were not living the life they wanted. It was majorly their job constraints that made them stay where they were.
Every weekend we used to drive to Pune, where my parents live. At that time, we took the old, single-lane Bombay-Pune road. The drive took us a minimum of 5 hours, and sometimes during traffic snarls, it extended to even 10 hours. But we never complained. The beauty of the landscape, especially while climbing and descending the ghats, fascinated us. During the monsoons, clouds hang so low that you drive through them.
With a population of 27 million, Mumbai is the 4th most populous city in the world. A majority of the middle class lives in dingy & cramped apartments with zero privacy. Even with the hardships, I wonder what makes people willing to stick to Bombay.
It is nothing but dreams & hope. Hope, to strike it big one fine day and finally live the life they have always dreamed of. Acres of open spaces, pollution-free air to breathe, naturally grown food & houses. A lifestyle that every Mumbaikar hopes to live.
This is exactly what Beforest is coming out with through the Mumbai Farming Collective.