:::Bombay ... . Just because some religious fanatics decided to rename the place as Mumbai, all over the world it is still called and known as Bombay, the New York of Asia. It is a brand. Even IIT (Bombay) refused to change its name to IIT Mumbai.
:::I have often asked people who have come to study at IIT Bombay, why did they choose it when they had other choices. For people who had come from smaller towns, Bombay was a place to have fun, to see the world by being in India. Some came as far as Jamshedpur (north india) even when they had IIT kharagpur in their neighborhood. The first impressions of a non-bombayite of bombay is its crowd and how we go past each other without an expression. The anonymity in the midst of crowds is quite intriguing to many who have come from towns where they have stayed amidst homogenous societies.
:::In many universities in the US -the indian student population is segregated on the basis of communities .(the tamil crowd were mainly people of tamil origin who were raised in tamil nadu and the bengali crowd were bengalis who were raised in west bengal ) During my days in school, a similar feature existed. But there was a group called the "bombay public ". Interestingly, only the bombay public had gujratis, marathis, mallus, punjabis, bengalis, tulu's, tamilians, kannadigas all of them raised in and around the suburbs of bombay. we did not represent any particular community but we were the "gang" from bombay. The hep, the cool, the bindas, "the loud" who did not isolate themselves into their respective community crowds - We were the bombayite's- with the bambaiya hindi and with the bambaiya attitude - who could break into a dance in the middle of the university squad or who would play impromptu cricket on a late summer evening or who would have a late night party with blaring bollywood music coupled with the English "digjig".
One night during one of our chat sessions Shanti who was raised in Madras gave a testimony to attest our brand , " we always looked to bombay for everything. the girls so confident and secure, the boys more bindas than ours. the socialization of the opposite sexes - the girls and the boys freely interacting without inhibitions is something about the bombayites that is so liberating". "Collar tight करो भाई"" ( a phrase used in bombay when they feel proud of themselves ) one other guy who belonged to bombay said on hearing this. Many illuminating columns have been written about bombayites. But my analyses among many others ( which I wouldn't want to elaborate in this post) is this : Typical Bombayite behaviours stem from the fact that bombay, like no other metropolis in india have submerged its many migrants from differents parts of the country to amalagamate into a culture of its own. We having gone to school with children from different communties have learnt to like, learn, accept, tolerate, consider and agree to disagree in a hetrogenous, diversely society. Each of us bring with us our strenghts and learn from others , the same values that our parents brought with them from the villages , only in Bombay we displayed these strengths 10 times more ... Oh yes, we hated the crowded locals - but who are the crowds ? - we ourselves, who created the dust and the grime and the pollution ? - we ourselves - the city has an energy that keeps beating 24/7 - they cannot change us with a change of a name.
:::At a ticket window in Thane railway station, I said , " दों VT (2 VT) ".The sales clerk said, "काय?(what)". she made me repeat it 3 to 4 times pretending not to understand what I said even while I was talking to her in marathi (the local language )all the time. To this the person who stood behind me in the queue said - "Ask for CST" instead of VT, otherwise the clerk is not going to give you the tickets. "