Timeless and arty Bombay
This post is also available in: French
Last December, we did a weekend trip to Bombay. ST+ART India foundation was organizing there an exhibition at the unique Sassoon Docks. So that was the perfect excuse to reunite with our first Indian love, Bombay (we spent 3 months there during an exchange programm when we were students back in 2006).
It was years since our last visit there so we were eager to compare what we still had in mind and the reality. Right in the taxi, we could again feel this particular vibe and energy, specific to Bombay, the “Maximum City”! We felt like countrymen coming to the big city. All is “more” in Bombay and as we always say, it’s the only city in India which really feel like a real “city”.
Apart from that disconnect compare to what we live in Bangalore, we were quickly recognizing everything we knew about Bombay and this feeling was just increasing as we were going down the city to South Bombay where the exhibition was happening and where we were staying.
Sassoon Docks are a very unique place in Bombay. Located between the affluent Cuffe Parade and the touristic Colaba, those docks are an enclave of traditional and fishermen population. It’s a riot of colors and fierce odors where you meet fishermen, coolies and prawn-peelers who are starting their day during the night and finishing it in the morning.
Having a contemporary and street art exhibition there was producing a great contrast and pushing different groups to meet. Exhibition was great and art pieces were rich, entertaining and very diverse. This kind of endeavor is also quite rare in India, so not to be missed.
For the rest, Johanne having a foot in a plaster cast and our son Noé falling sick, we limited our visits to the few neighborhoods of South Bombay. That was still an oppotunity to experience the eternal (but fading) charms of this part of the city: from the small lanes of Fort to the mythic Leopold Café, passing by Marina Drive and stopping to one of the Irani Café still opened.
We finally came back from Bombay with mixed feelings. We were happy to find again, almost untouched the city that we loved but also a bit sad to find out that not much was evolving (the subway being under construction between Colaba and the airport might soon bring a wind of change). We also know that the parts of the city which are changing fast are more around Lower Parel, but the South seems at times dumped, with a fading heritage.
Also, the fog, typical of this season was accentuated by a strong air pollution, restricting us from seeing the sun. And this advertising message, right in the context, from a bank, seen on a billboard on our way back to the airport: “Saving is like pollution, it’s only when it’s too late that everybody’s worrying about it”
PS: sorry to finish this post again on an “air pollution” note and sorry for making some of you worrying with our second to last post on the same theme. Since then, we’re checking daily the air quality in Bangalore (that we compare with other cities in the world) and we stopped being too much paranoid about that. Bangalore air quality isn’t that bad. So the time for an emergency come-back to France because of a pollution crisis isn’t yet happening for us, but we remain on alert.