Make Spit while the sun shines!

Mumbaikars, forever stuck in an angsty teen rebel stage like to live life on their own terms! First came buying of Maggi packets before they go off shelves so you can stock them up and eat it despite being hazardous, then came the meat ban that raised a lot of voices, then came the rumour of alcohol ban and then came the four tough days where people weren’t allowed to consume meat to respect someone’s cultural practices. We saw it all, we abused, we wrote, We spoke, we protested, we spat in disgust. Hold on, hold your spit in because spitting might soon cost you a lot more than pneumonia or other respiratory tract diseases.

While travelling in an auto rickshaw in the suburbs of Mumbai my rickshaw was stuck in a never ending signal in front of IIT Mumbai. The driver took this oppurtunity to bring out the Leonardo Di Caprio within him, took a long drag and spat his chest out on the road. Disgusted by the sticky sight I gasped and clenched my teeth holding back my vomit. I decided to educate my auto driver and told him not to spit. “You will have to pay a thousand rupees fine and work at a government office for a day and the penalty keeps increasing if you are caught again after that.”

He smirked and looked at me through the mirror as if indirectly conveying that he already knew the rules and said, ” Don’t worry Madam, the police has a holiday today. No one’s going to catch me today.”

Book Review : Bombay Rains Bombay Girls.

Written by Dr. Anirban Bose who completed his MBBS in Mumbai and worked as assistant professor of Medicine at University of Rochester.

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Eighteen year old Adi does not realise the drastic changes that await him. Being from a small town he, as well as his parents are equally shocked to learn that he has qualified his medical entrance examination and will now be studying MBBS at Grant Medical College and JJ hospital.

Giving advices to people who are moving to big cities or foreign lands is a part of our tradition and the case is no different when it comes to Adi. While leaving for Bombay he is told to watch two things in Mumbai, Bombay Rains and Bombay girls.

On his arrival to the city, the author beautifully describes the way an outsider would usually percieve the city of Bombay. The hustle and bustle and flamboyance of the city mesmerizes every outsider in his first few months until one day he gets tired of the heat but is so emotionally attached to the city that he cannot imagine parting with it.

On his very first day in the city that waits for no one Adi is shown the real picture of the city’s ignorance and brutal ways. His father accompanies him to complete the formalities of the college admission and reminds him of the way one must lead life. Taking it all in and feeling each and every sentiment that comes along.

Thinking that admission to this renowned college was just a matter of luck he suffers a major inferiority complex.

Meeting friends, feeling betrayed in love,chosing what is wrong and right and knowing his morals leads him to discover a whole new path until the authorities in the college might be giving them some serious problems.

One thing leads to another but the company of his new she-friend and his unconditional affection for her keeps him going through these difficult times.

On facing loss of a dear one, Adi is compelled to unravel a journey that might cost him his life and career.

A sparkling and at times overly dramatic read.This book is for everyone who wants to know about Mumbai and it’s ways years back. For people who dream of standing in front of Nariman point and running with the city in any direction. A must read for aspiring medicos and people finding love in Mumbai.

I’d rate Bombay Rains Bombay Girls a 3 out of 5.

Razia.

In the summer of ’92, I was working at Colaba. Nothing major really. I had very few job opportunities as I was really young. Raw age of 19, hair tied back in a bun with strands hanging out loose, an old worn out jeans that I’d been wearing for a year and half and a cheap T shirt I picked up at FS.

My house being in Mulund, I had to load myself in a train to CST station every morning. Being squished in the ladies compartment, wow.

The train back home was empty. When I say empty, it was me, and a few other girls. Every night while returning I used to sit near the window with my legs on the seat opposite to me and eat lifeless take out food.

Razia, a little girl used to sit beside me and tell me all about her day. Her ‘ammi’ sold fruits around the corner of a street at Fort( Mumbai). Razia complained that her ammi never really liked her. Razia was the child of Ahaan’s first wife. Razia did all that she could to be accepted by her ammi. Little girls often do that. Hide a crippling need of approval.
She would do everything and anything for a smile on her ammi’s face.

Sometimes I got ‘Coffee Bite’ chocolates for Razia. She liked them. The bitter sweet taste left the brightest smile on her face.

All of a sudden she stopped coming. Never saw her again.

It was two and a half weeks later that I enquired about her around CST station. She had suddenly gone missing.

I wasn’t so sure about asking the authorities around. What do they know about people on the stations who pick plastic bottles and leftover samosas. I asked this old chap, they called him ‘battery’. He was a joke around the station. He had been working as a cleaner over there for over 60 years.

Battery ko malum hoyega.

That’s what they said about him. He knew every little shit that went around the place. When I asked him about Razia he said there was no Razia. I asked him if he was sure. He was affirmative. He was old. I thought maybe he is forgetting things but what he said after that was unbelievable.

He said there was a little girl 26 years back named Razia. Fair complexion and brown hair unlike her mother’s. Used to go around the station picking up random plastic objects while her mother sold fruits somewhere around the area. One day her mother pushed her out of the moving train. Finally she had made her ammi happy.