Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Pain, I did feel when I glued on to the TV screens seeing devastating images of the recent terror attacks. That was the pain an onlooker feels when a scene such is seen.

I was happily eating a pizza at Snack Shack in Manipal when I saw Leo's. I saw a fallen chair and it looked familiar. And then there was blood and more news and repeated clippings of terror for the next four or five days. The first time I ever did go to Leo's, it was with my Vaze and dhanananda. They are both very special people and that visit was very special as well. We reached the place at about 5 in the evening, they had breezers and beer while I had chai. The feeling of Colaba, the feeling of Bombay. It was magical, to say the least. Mom and Dad never liked the idea of me going to Colaba, back then, I was only 16, and apparently Colaba wasn't safe for me. They didn't like the idea of their little one going to a place where the Bombay brothels were. And of course, they thought that Colaba was drug overdose. So my mom and dad will never know of my first visit to Leo's. After that I grew up, so my argumentative skills swelled up. Shanataram happened. Vinee was always company. And Colaba became habit. We ignored Bandra gravely despite Shalaka and Vinne's urges to shop out there.

Then, the mad psycho guy stabbed two chinki girls at Colaba, Gateway to be precise in broad daylight. Ha! Mom had another reason to dislike Colaba. She said no more Gateway for you. By some random coincidence, my friends and I were planning on going to Gateway that same day but we didn't because we didn't know what bus to take to get there. Well, God works in strange ways.

Then the gang molestation occured. Disgusting and distasteful. Colaba was pathetic again.

Dad had memories attached to Colaba. He has been in Bombay from the early 80s. He and his cool cousins would drink pints after pints at Leo's. Kabab at Bade Miyaan. He loved Colaba. But he still felt like being over-protective about his daughter. So he 'd yell at me everytime I came back from Colaba with my junk jwellery. Once, just to take a dig at me, he told me that the earrings I had bought were made of bones and thats the crap that Colaba gives. I got grossed out and scared, I threw those earring away! Ugh.

Kala Ghoda festival further ignited my love for Colaba. That heritage walk. I love my Bombay. The information about the architectural splendour of the Sailor's Home(now Mumbai Police HQ) and Regal Cinema's neo-gothic design had me in awe of my home-city. The way the causeway was full of refugees and how it is now a popular bazaar. All the jazz. I loved, ever more.

Manipal era came. I was ocd-ing about Bombay all the time. People in Manipal were tired of my rant. But Bombay was the eternal love. So I did my presentation on Colaba. We could choose any topic we wanted and I chose Colaba. The teacher liked it and she gave me a 13 on 15. Doesn't matter because I spoke with passion. Intensity was there in the heart.

Hippie high. I took everyone I knew to Colaba. I mean, every new person in Bombay. Bhaiya ji, Kyam, Pavi, all of them. And they sure did like. I felt very content. Showing off my city, my lovely Colaba.

Then I made plans to marry a Bawa so I get a nice Colaba appartment. But thats for the future, the plan is still on.

Today, Colaba is not safe. Say the parents all over again. When they said it before, I wasn't bothered. I would endevour into the alley-ways of Colaba anyway. But now, when they say its not safe, something happens inside of me. Jitters. A hurt pierces deep. I hate that feeling. I can feel the scare. It's not alright. It's not. It's not.

I have to psyche myself out, so I forget this scare. The fact that I am scared quenches their purpose. And that is just not acceptable. Frustration.


I will not be scared.

The onlooker phase ended when I stepped back into the city. I felt the tremour of the terror. Far far away in Manipal, the tremour was dampened by the wet soil full of no care. It's back. The grind. The pace. I shall overcome this scare.


1 comment:

ARJuN... said...

Ami.. this is something that will always remain with me forever.

Two weekends back I was at Colaba, walking the Causeway. Leo's, yes I was there for lunch. I saw the bullet marks!

In spite of friends insisting that I should not go ahead because of the security and blah, I walked up and saw all that I could of My Taj.

It is MUMBAI. The city that will always be ours. They say that the one who gives the most is also troubled the most. If the cities of India are grouped into a Family, then Mumbai would be that sister who is the single earning member of the family, the one who only gives so that others prosper, and when something happens to her, she is left all alone. Only plans on how she can be brought out of the situation are made. Plans. That's it.

That day when I saw my Taj, it felt like looking at my Grand-dad when he was in the hospital. Recovery is certain. And moving on, necessary... Cheer Up...!!!