"Love"? There are things I really love about the city and things I don't. But, whole-hearted, undying, to-die-for, unconditional kinda love? I'm not sure about that. Can I stay somewhere else? If I have to. In fact, I'd prefer some place where I can afford a house. Will I miss Bombay? Sure I will. I'll miss its places and its people.
"Never say die" attitude? Um. See, Bombay is about money. Nothing else. Its not World War 1 or 2 or 3 happening on a daily basis. Out here, time is money. You want yours. Everyone else wants theirs. The colour of money that a cabbie makes is the same as that of what an industrialist makes. Does that make them "heroes" or "survivors"? I'm not sure. They found their ways. We have to find ours.
"Spirit of the city"? Bumper sticker and nothing more. Humanity on any other day, that over the years got romanticised, got garbled and took the shape of a tag-line, a by-word to be used on every show and in every column when things go wrong.
See, here's the deal. I like all the cities I've visited. I blogged about Delhi. I've wanted to but never have blogged about Chennai and Bangalore. Both wonderful cities in their own ways. I've only been abroad all of four times. Twice to Hong Kong and once each to Colombo and Dubai. Never to Shanghai, New York, Tokyo, London, Singapore, etc. When, or if, I can, I'd love to do scenes from all these cities.
I'm sure there are enough people who came flat broke to the shores of each of those cities, and made it in life. They will tell you a tale if you wish to hear it. I'm sure they all like whats good in the city and hate whats bad.
I don't know what makes Bombay "better" or "worse" than these cities. Its all going to boil down to who you are and what you want. Out here in Bombay, we are all people on the same train/bus/car/rick/taxi going to the same stop/station/destination. Earning a living and living our lives. I don't know how that makes us better - or worse - than other travelers in other cities in India and the world.
PS - If you lived in or visited any of the cities above - or any city anywhere - I'd love to hear your views. Thanks in advance.
PPS - I just have to recap these words. They say more about this city than anyone else I've heard in recent times.
Utar Jaaye Ragon Mein Jo Toh Yeh Nasha Hai
Iski Aadat Jo Pad Gayi Toh Yeh Saza Hai
Aise Bhar De Ke Khaali Kar De