Never before has half an hour exalted me to such levels of musing on the meaning of life.
The city of Mumbai. The city of Dreams. Makarand society, a humble housing society of half a dozen buildings, situated right on the Mahim beach. The edge of the society is at a height from the edge of the sea. 10.30 pm. A few extra, unnecessary bites of Parantha in Only Paranthas, Linking Road, Bandra compelled me for a walk in the society. What better place for a walk than along the edge of the society, with the delightful sea-breeze lifting my spirits! Fate, it seems, had other plans for me.
The instant I stepped into the view of the sea, my first reaction was silence. My jaw had dropped too low for anything audible to be able to physically escape my thorax. The sight I beheld couldn't be real. It just couldn't. Words are too much of a handicap for me to explain, but let's try.
The Mumbai skyline. With all it's lights at night. In all it's glory. The perfect picture. Howard Roark would've been proud of it. Perfect architecture, a few structures of steel rising out of the ground. It was like that particular space in spacetime had been created by the Almighty with the sole purpose of giving refuge to that skyline. A pale yellow, perfectly crescent moon, placed atop the tallest building. Yes, placed. It was impossible for the moon to be there unless it was placed there. Manually, by God. He must have thrown hooks at it and tied it in place. The moon was part of the building. The building was incomplete without the moon. Symbiosis. No mortal could ever achieve such perfection. Not even those who want to reach perfection not for money, but for the sole purpose of lifting themselves above the rest.
I couldn't believe it. This wasn't happening. It happens only in movies or a few books, at the most. Yet, it was right there. It didn't even go after a few pinches i gave myself. It was there allright!
And all of a sudden, God loosened his hooks. The moon began to sink into the building. It sank, till it was no longer visible. Maybe God gifted the moon to the building for being so perfect. For being the only thing that could possibly occupy that space.
Then it was just the buildings. The disappearance of the moon made me recognise human voices. The fishermen folk, on the beach. With all their bedding, for their humble homes a little ahead along the beach didn't have air conditioning. For they trusted on the air conditioning provided by the sea. The sea, that was all they ever knew, that was all they ever trusted. The sea that enabled them to feed their children back home. Some lying down, talking about the wonderful catch of the day. Some enjoying a simple game of Rummy. Some smoking their beedis in silent contemplation. Through that mile-long humanity, i could sense one emotion. Happiness. Contentment. Not even a whiff emerges through offices of the corporates.
We talk about of social divides, don't we? Well, some inside information. It's the sea. The divide we all talk about.
On one side of the sea, fishermen unwinding, wiping honest sweat. On the other, modernisation. Fly-overs, cars, steel towers. Contentment on one side, a hectic life on the other. Beauty sleep after a hard day of work on one side, more work after a day of hard work on the other. In the city, it was hard to recognise which light was the brightest. On the beach, the brightest light came from a beedi and an occasional match.
I was suddenly aware of movement in the sky. A plane was apparently denied permission to Mumbai airport, and it was wiling away it's time making circles around the sky.
Straight ahead, i could see the incomplete Worli-Bandra connecting bridge. A bridge meant to bridge the gap between two areas of the same racket they call "Mumbai". We're bridging the wrong gaps, i said aloud. A stray dog on the beach heard me. It looked up in confusion.
"Main Tanha" by Penn Masala hummed in my ears through Apple headphones. And i was truly alone. Tanha, as they said. The realisation of the great divide had made me feel like the lonliest person on earth.
And it goes on. The Mumbai skyline won't change. The fishermen will still come out of their homes for the cool breeze at nights. The bridge will be made.
What changed, was me. By observing something that has been present for eons. But in a different light.
The city of Mumbai. The city of Dreams. It couldn't be truer. Ten feet away from me, on the beach, the dreams were humble. A mile away, beyond the sea, beyond the curving beach, among the lights, the dreams were sky-high.
Life poses some fairly interesting questions sometimes, doesn't it?
Off my Journal (the wine and the divine)
10 months ago