It just struck me, as I was whooshing back home from work, that the most memorable thing about today weren’t the crazy messages but that today was as bright as a day can get. If you closed your eyes, it was a horrible day. All sharp heat and not a trace of wind. But open your eyes, and it was unreal how lush everything looked. Just think of those super saturated photographs and videos of places like Miami, in which the colours look like thick and wet as though they’ve just been painted. Mumbai looked like that today. The leaves of trees gleamed. The shadows that fell were as sharply defined as they’d be if they’d been drawn using a just sharpened pencil. The sky particularly looked beautiful, provided you squinted your eyes against the glare of this suddenly exuberant sun that was beaming as though it was on drugs or had drunk too much coffee or both. The evening apparently saw rainbows whose colours could make the Care Bears dizzy. Of course today would also be the day that I would not only be sans camera, but also trapped inside a massive, shoebox-y office. On the plus side, I didn’t leave my phone at home.
When I was coming home, I looked out of the window of my cab and saw the sky appliquéd with moon-bright clouds. Against the colour of night, the clouds looked spectral but beautiful. Above them was the not-quite-full moon. It looked like the kind of night when you expect magic to happen. Then a cloud crawled and squatted over the moon and it became harder to ignore the potholed streets, desperate cars and buildings lit by the yellow streetlights. And on cue, there was a traffic snarl.
I’ve been complaining the past few weeks about what a bloody hideous and congested city Mumbai is and, today’s little display notwithstanding, it is. There are practically no open spaces and what exists, is horribly maintained and invariably crowded. On the sea-facing stretches, joggers, canoodlers, loafers, policemen and god knows who else jostle for space. Add to that the ghastly excuses for modern architecture in the city, and what you have is a city that is stifling. Feel like a little fresh air? Head for the Sealink and shell out Rs. 55 (one way). It’s come to the point where I’ve seriously been wondering whether I should have tried to find a job in Delhi because all said and done, the capital is easier on the eye and there are open spaces where one does not necessarily get raped. So they tell me.
Anyway, the point is, that it was nice to look at Mumbai and realise that, despite all that is so miserably wrong with it, the city can appear gorgeous, even if it is only for a day and even if it is a precursor to some serious swelter as we inch closer to the sweat-fest that is October.