Reasons To Love Mumbai 2012

January 2, 2012 8:41 am by

Illustration by Sameer Kulavoor.

It’s easy enough to drum up a dozen reasons to hate Mumbai—there are the potholed roads, the corrupt bureaucrats, the inept municipal corporation, the filth, the crumbling infrastructure and the general lack of humanity. For every person who champions the famous Mumbai “spirit”, there are two others who will denounce our apathy. So when we set ourself the task of coming up with what we hope will be the first in a yearly package of “Reasons To Love Mumbai” stories, we were dismayed at how greatly the reasons to hate seemed to outweigh reasons to love. The year 2011 dealt hard blows to our city’s image as a secure, cosmopolitan and open-minded haven for people all over India. We saw serial bomb blasts, the vicious murders of Ruben Fernandes and Keenan Santos, rapes and scams, to say nothing of our increasingly tarnished reputation as the country’s safest city for women. In light of such horror and atrocity, we wanted our reasons to love to buck the usual cliches of “dabbawallahs, Mumbai spirit, vada pao” that are usually flung around when it comes to singing our virtues. Instead, we wanted to focus on the little celebrated, the less known, the small pleasures and acts of cheer that made 2011 a year to love as much a year to loathe. We have a matchmaker who helps the disabled find true love, a community basketball team championing future athletes, the elderly men and women who continue to work well into their 90s, and a celebration of our national park, our train vendors and auto-rickshawallahs who make our daily lives that much easier. Mumbai Fables author Gyan Prakash has penned a reflective essay on “train therapy”. And lastly, we have a compilation of your reasons to love this marvelous city, which includes tributes from historians, novelists, musicians, chefs, editors and you, our readers.

Your Reasons To Love
Gyan Prakash Gets Some Train Therapy
Because We Have Our Own NBA
Because South Mumbai Has Life In It Yet
Because We Have A Full-Blown Forest In Our Midst
Because the Safest Place In the City Is A Thieves’ Market
Because Our Matchmakers Don’t Discriminate
Because You Can Eat Like A King On A Pauper’s Salary
Because the Meter Goes Down
Because We Can Date Back At Least One Thing To 65 Million Years Ago
Because of This
Because We Have Our Own Classical Music Gharana
Because Our Trains Double Up As Shopping Malls
Because We Invented the Sizzler
Because Our Metal Is Badass
Because Age Is Just A Number Here

Because Writers Find Poetry Even In the City’s Ugliness