Owning a city

I have loved Mumbai from the moment I knew it. I loved it from Bambai to Bombay to Mumbai. I grew up all across the city and if you know Mumbai, you’d know that it is no mean feat.

The entire city belonged to me as I could navigate from north to south, mouth bus numbers and train timings. I knew it like the back of my hand. I knew its secrets. As the city expanded, my expertise decreased, secrets were not secrets anymore and I recognized the city in pockets. If you ask me how well I know my city now, I would perhaps cite in details only the area in which I live.

I grew up cycling on the roads of Mumbai. There was space for me as I used my pudgy legs to drive up the slopes of the suburbs. Now, there is none. I yearn to find myself a spot to stand where I would go untouched and unrushed. Cities and their characters change over time and the biggest and the mightiest of cities have such a tumultuous history. Globalization has done us many goods but in the process we have lost our localized selves to our globalized ones. How dedicated are we at working towards local problems. How effective are local management models in a generation where most of our leaders only understand virtual communities. Also, is the theory of local management applicable in a time where rural-urban migration is at the highest? How can one expect someone to feel instantly rooted and responsible in a city where he has arrived solely to survive?

May be it is time to reinvent the wheels. Educate a new generation of individuals with insight of the new problems of our day. Starting with the bigger question – who’s Mumbai is it anyway?

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