At long last, with my midday break from classes, I’m finally catching up a bit on my writing and recounting on my adventures this past summer. Therefore, after much photo editing, I’m starting off with a few brief reflections on Mumbai.
When I talk about Mumbai, I mean south Mumbai, the city proper.
In this area, where I lived and worked for the summer, planning is key. Streets are wide – tree lined boulevards are the norm. The buildings are elaborate, full of odd corners and design motifs ranging from European to Aztec. Even the grocery store is decorated like a Czarina’s birthday cake.
Of course, this is the area of the city designed to a certain look. It was laid out to be beautiful, to be bordered by elegant parks and small niches of green. The train station was designed to be beautiful. The central post office was meant to look like a sultan’s palace. And the buildings in the area remain elegant, even in disrepair. The tumbledown remains of former facades provide the facing and framing that make the concrete bulk of modern buildings so much more appealing to the eye.
In addition, south Mumbai remains the primary destination for tourists in the area. It is the site of the majority of museums in the city and a number of other famous landmarks.
But I enjoyed it most not for any of these reasons. It was the areas where Mumbai took on a kind of shabby chic life that I was most drawn. The odd corners where plants began to grow off of buildings, where birds rested on unusual perches, or where plant life began to take over for more substantial man-made structures drew me.