Thursday, December 15, 2005

City Life

City life can drain you. There is something incredibly hard and frenetic about the energy of so-called thriving cities like Bombay, where I live. To be honest I would call it the energy of madness. It has the quality of arrows, pins, needles and all kinds of sharp objects darting out all over the place and striking you, and each other as well, randomly and so fast that you are just not able to keep pace with them or make sense of their movements.

I am lucky enough to be living in a place from where a view of the open sea and sky is framed by the swaying branches of palm trees outside my window and I am spared the hustle bustle on a daily basis. But the down side of it is that I am slowly turning into a hermit of sorts. I almost can’t bear to step out of the house to face not only broken down pavements waiting to trip me up and chuckle over a twisted ankle or broken bone, but the throngs of people who are likely to crush you as they blindly race across the streets and narrow sidewalks.

Cars screech, taxis honk, people dart impudently across the road just where they are NOT supposed to be crossing. Drivers curse because you are going too slow/too fast/you turned when they didn’t expect you to/ some kid ran across the street and they had to brake all of a sudden.

I curse myself that in all these years I never took up some truly relaaaaxing hobby like pottery or knitting to combat the stress. On the contrary when I did have the chance to do some of that, way back in about the fourth or fifth class in school, I would give my sewing and knitting assignments to other pals to finish for me, and return their favours with a piece of chocolate or some other item from my lunch box. Talk about bribery and corruption! You could say in India, it starts early.

Well I am glad that at the end of this month I shall be able to trade the city hulchul for a couple of weeks when a few of us take off for Bangalore  to visit Lallu's project and later on to the beaches of Goa. And meantime to ensure that I stay sane while in the city I must remember to enroll for some classes in knitting when I get back.

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Stardust1954 said...

You talking about looking out your window and looking at view of the sea framed by palm trees makes me want to pack my bags and head to Bombay and all the hulchul! (is this similar to our word "hubub"?) We are buried in snow here in Chicagoland USA! :-(

umarang said...

Yes! "Hulchul" is the Indian equivalent of "hubub" I guess. So maybe one day we will see you in Bombay!

suresh said...

Well, Remember the open ground in front of my mom's house? The big open piece of land in front of the Window which I used to call "pasture"? It will soon be utilised to make a Bus depot. So soon, gone would be the days of watching cows idly chewing cud outside the window with white birds picking flies from their body. Gone would be the quiet and the solitude that greets us from outside the window... and big fat buses would shriek amongst long serpentine queues. It is City life invading..

umarang said...

I agree, Suresh. Its kind of sad to see the city swallow up so much of one's natural surroundings. What about the highway that is going to maybe run past our house in a few years, connecting south Bombay with the suburbs?!