Right from the airport you witness large and extra large hoardings for the Hindi film. Saif Ali Khan looks menacing and almost resembles a Desi Bond. It was soon to be one of the biggest flops in Indian history. The arrival of corporate production houses was supposed to herald end of superstardom and more democracy for the meaningful cinema. But still a handful rule the roost. The mainstream Hinglish dailies deal with the parties they went to the last night and even their say on moral, economic, social scenario. They still are not judged by the merit of their work. Or may be they have a different sets of merit criteria.
Then next comes the numerous hoardings on financial services and banks. The handsome guy in poster offers to double your investment without any risk involved. Remember Mumbai hosts the Indian version of wall street. Financial advisory has become one lucrative job in India. It promises to reap you sheafs of gold. Still the stories of the failed are refused to be talked about.
The railway stations are filled with posters singing gratitude to the son of soil Sachin for his contribution to Indian cricket and Indian pride. Days ago he puffed and heaved to century of centuries , after a long wait and against a mediocre side.
So why all these adulation for people who does nothing but get rich? Right from the underworld days to the liberalised era, the powerful were worshipped- atleast until dethroned.
Yes, the city carry the dreams of a million. The elusive dream constantly lingers in the hoardings, posters, billboards, skycrapers, multiplex etc.
But price of the dream hasn't come very easy. I take ar stroll around the Indian gate. There's a literal police fortress around the Taj. It has been years since the attack.
I went for a visit to the Mumbai High court , trying to locate the entrance. A cop with automatic gun sprang up from a heap of sand bag. I was startled, but the good man just wanted to show the entrance.
Leopold cafe arguably benefited immensely from the famous terrorist attack. The place is known for the beer lager, huge bills you run upto, indifferent waiters and bullet marks on the walls. I kept staring onto the bullet holes. Then I noticed the bullet marks are no longer an attraction.
The atmosphere gives an impression of the 'resilience' of the Mumbaikars.
Or is the right word insensitivity? Indifference?