Where The Heart Is

28 Aug

We’re waiting at a light that will take a while to turn green. To my left is Chowpatty junction and the silver-grey sea surging forth this early afternoon. The road turns upward and narrow, winding determinedly to meet old limestone havelis, banyan tree compounds and the scent of theplas at Teen Batti. In the foreground are battered boats, scraps of torn clothing and greedy pigeons feasting on somebody’s idea of religion. The beach needs a clean-up. Eighteen dustbins should do it. It wouldn’t hold a candle to Venice and I know it.

In the distance, phoenix-like, rises Cuffe Parade. The monolith of the World Trade Centre, the soaring steeple of Afghan Church, the identical pygmies of Navy Nagar that house brilliant, impoverished scientists. A lighthouse clings to the island of Colaba, just before the world’s steepest real estate crumbles away into the Arabian Sea. Marine Drive shimmers like a mirage, framing the good bay* in a tolerant Sunday mood. Honks are notably absent, siesta has spread its picnic mat.

I turn to him, my heart filled with pride.  “You’d like Hong Kong,” he says casually. I look back at the view and slowly shake my head. It wouldn’t hold a candle to my home and I know it.

*[Bombay gets its name from the Portuguese Bom Bahia, meaning good bay.]

19 Responses to “Where The Heart Is”

  1. M...... August 28, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    I am just glad that you have chosen to be less quiet than before 🙂

    I hope you find comfort and solace in the silence, we will all be right here….

    Ah the feeling of belonging….nothing compares to home..nothing

  2. Aunty G August 28, 2009 at 11:21 pm #

    Its pretty clear you love your city
    Its banyan/bay/boat complexity
    Your words fascinate
    And we deeply take
    A sigh of relief that you’re slowly de-misty!

  3. Mamma Mia! Me a Mamma?!? August 28, 2009 at 11:49 pm #

    Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home!

    I so get this!

  4. Orange Jammies August 29, 2009 at 12:08 am #

    M…: Nothing. 🙂

    Aunty G: *Hug*

    M4: Oh but mine, it’s graaaand!

  5. Miss M August 29, 2009 at 2:07 am #

    But.. but.. Hong kong is NOTHING like bombay!

    Singapore on the other hand is. But not Hong kong. Really.

  6. mini August 29, 2009 at 2:13 am #


    Have been reading for a while, but delurking now to say your post, put me on that red light and i could just see chowpatty on my left and smell the theplas at teenbatti.. lived there all my life of 25 yrs.. moved to the US for love.. but feel like i lost what i loved most.. my city..my bombay!!!

  7. dipali August 29, 2009 at 10:05 am #

    As long as it’s still there. more or less intact, the concept of home is a comfort even if you are far away.
    It’s when you know that it’s gone forever that is truly heartbreaking:(

  8. aneela August 29, 2009 at 6:44 pm #

    Khattak key maar dala OJ! bus all you needed was mention SRK in your ‘viewfinder’and I was ready to chuck it all here , clutch bub in one arm and hail a cab to take me to the airport.

  9. Orange Jammies August 30, 2009 at 2:32 pm #

    Miss M: He doesn’t like Singapore. Thinks it’s too clinical. Therefore Hong Kong.

    mini: Aww… here’s a hug for the Walkeshwar woman. Actually, that’s more for delurking. 😉

    dipali: Ouch. Bad time to hear that.

    aneela: For my impression of the man, peruse point # 3 of this post–> https://wisdomwearsneonpyjamas.wordpress.com/2009/07/07/the-five-best-things-the-boy-has-done-for-me/

  10. Meira August 31, 2009 at 5:59 pm #

    n all we have in delhi is the small lake at Old Fort and even here boating is allowed during season. waaahhhh :((

  11. sukanya August 31, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

    home is home…nothing can beat the comfort and peace it provides!

  12. Orange Jammies September 1, 2009 at 11:16 am #

    Meira: It’s a gorgeous city, though. But yes, I’m too much of a water baby to live away from waves. 🙂

    sukanya: Hear, hear!

  13. Nino's Mum September 2, 2009 at 6:25 pm #

    hugs. I love how much you love your city, OJ, your loyalty is infectious.

  14. Orange Jammies September 3, 2009 at 1:57 pm #

    Nino’s Mum: I must admit, though, my city ends at Worli. Beyond that, with the exception of Bandra, I do not love.

  15. Nino's Mum September 4, 2009 at 6:35 pm #

    🙂 tiss okay, loyal south bombayiite. I’m most visiting there too!

  16. Orange Jammies September 4, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    Nino’s Mum: Oh it’s perfectly okay. Did I sound the least bit apologetic? 😉

  17. Vidooshak September 8, 2009 at 11:57 am #

    Nice. For someone who left his adopted home land to adopt a new home land (for the 7th time in a tiny life), you brought a nostalgic tear to the eye. Yup, South Bombay has an amazing charisma, unmatched by the best cities in the world.

    Also, this was one of the rare posts from you that I understood 😛

  18. Orange Jammies September 8, 2009 at 4:45 pm #

    Vidooshak: Just call me the Inscrutable OJ. 😛


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