The International Writers
One more day
passed by. It has been three months since I began living in this
neat and tidy room, all by myself, like "Alice in wonderland".
I landed here in Dubai on the 1st of April at around 6.30 am. The
marhaba staff looked cute in her yellow and blue dress code though
she had accumulated a few extra pounds on her waist line.
Airport is very huge and is massively decorated as if to show off the
power of wealth. I had to walk a long distance from the airway bridge
than I had done in the Charles De Gaulle airport.
The buggy car" facility is very useful as it takes us from
one side of the terminal to the other side without much hassle.
When EK 501 aircraft took off from Mumbai International airport, slicing
the clouds with the edges of its wings, my mind was riding back to old
memories which flashed on my eyes just as on a cinema screen.
Seven years back, on a freezing January night, I got down at Vasai station
along with Lalchechi from a dragging Gandhi Dham Express. It was around
11 pm. I still remember the first Virar train pass by us carrying hundreds
of people. Commuters were hanging on the doors and windows and there
were even a few on top of the train!
It was not my first visit to Mumbai. I had been there before with my
parents during my school days. But those memories are pale now. I can
recollect only Nanappan mamans house and C.Ps samosas!
Vasai is a small fishing town. Well, it can no longer be called "small"
while looking at the crowds getting down the train. People in their
thousands struggling to make ends meet! They must have been working
day after day commuting nearly 45 km up and down for survival.
We took a rickshaw to Naigaon where Lalchechi was living at that time.
Rickshawala took us through Manickpur and Papdi
village where you could see nothing but barren land and here and there
lush vegetation. The moon was shining in full form to serve us like
a stadium light. It was pretty chilly outside and the cold
breeze pierced through my naked skin hurting my blood vessels. I clung
on to Lalchechi and Valyamonchettan and continued staring outside.
Sometimes, we passed thru old villas, occupied by East Indians
a community whom you could see mainly at Vasai side - and most of them
had a "cross" on their courtyard.
After the nice ride of 30 minutes, we finally reached Naigaon, initially
occupied by Koilies and now by Goans. Mr. Pereira was the one and only
person at that time to try his luck at this side in building construction
and so the building in this area formed the "Pereira colony".
Ours was a small flat with one bedroom, hall, kitchen and a washroom.
Valyamonchettan had made kaachiyamoru for the first time
in his life to welcome us. We had already taken our dinner from the
train, but the rice, kaachiyamoru and okra fry were too tempting to
It took me a while
to accustom myself to the new culture and atmosphere. Then days, weeks
and months passed. Winter spring and autumn
I slowly became a
part of the busy Mumbai life.
From Naigaon to Borivali and later to Santacruz and on the other side,
from a small travel agency to one of the biggest in the city and there
to an airlines back office and finally to an airline itself
Life was full of changes.
There I made the best friends ever. With them I enjoyed life to the
fullest. Pubs and parties, picnics and late nights
and believed that we would be friends for ever, but later broke the
same knot and parted with the same spirit, praying and wishing that
we would never bump in to one another in future. Life again was full
Mumbai is a place where you can heal your wound even before you realize
that you got hurt.
Everyday is a new day and every person you meet would be a new person.
Life in Mumbai is just like a fast 12 coach Virar train! You just dont
realize how time flies as you have so much to observe, learn and laugh
at and sometimes to make you feel stupid. How silly of a person to fight
with others they have never before seen and may never ever see in future.However,
I have sometimes wished to move out of this vicious circle
of Mumbai especially whenever I see the unbearable crowd, the dirty
and unhygienic side of human beings, the corrupt political system and
above all, the huge income tax imposed on people who work! At some point,
I have even felt I should tell my house owner, milkwala and paperwala
to collect the salary on my behalf as after sharing my valet with them,
I hardly have anything left for me!
So, now, here I am, in Dubai in the Manhattan of the Middle
East hoping to mould a new life with new people, new system
and fresh ideas.
My mind is full of enthusiasm, zest and energy. This world is vast and
I have much more to explore. Maybe, a few years down the line, I would
write another note like this about Dubai from some other corner of this
beautiful green globe.
kakanadan June 18th 2007
of my Heart
My Thursdays are colourful
Coz I see you on all Thursdays
Coz I see you only on Thursdays
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