‘Even the sparrows in the narrow alleys have flown away..’
From Bombay to Mumbai.. not just the name, a lot more has changed too. Collin Rodrigues speaks to several true-blue Mumbaikars to find out what they miss most about the city...
Mario Miranda (cartoonist)
There are so many things that I miss about Bombay. First, the crowds. There was a time when people were so friendly and helpful, even to complete strangers. The current crop is so self-centered and sophisticated. The Irani eateries have all but disappeared. I used to enjoy reading my morning newspaper at these places. Then, the single screen movie theatres.. they have now made way for plush multiplexes. While studying at St Xavier’s college, I’d often bunk classes to go for afternoon shows. Sometimes, I’d even go as far as Mahim to watch a movie.
Milind Deora (politician)
There was a time when we didn’t have to think of Mumbai vs Bombay. But times have changed.. certain individuals are trying to divide the city on the lines of region and religion. I am fighting a political battle to protect the city against such divisive forces. And I would like to appeal to Mumbaikars to come together for the cause.
Alyque Padamsee (Theatre personality)
My beloved city has lost its ‘vroom vroom’ energy. This is the only other place that comes anywhere close to the Big Apple. That is why I have named it Bombay the Big Banana. It’s not so much the traffic that is my concern but the spirit that is lost.
Gautam Singhania (businessman)
Why can’t we have a good marina? Most coastal cities in the world have one. Also, roads like we had in the past.. and better infrastructure. There are many others things, but I am too old to remember all of them.
Anil Kapoor (actor)
I miss everything about Mumbai.. the weather, traffic, energy, food and smells. It’s in my breath.. my DNA since I’ve lived here all my life. I was born and brought up in a room in Building No 16 of Tilak Nagar. Some of my old friends still stay in the neighbourhood. I visit them occasionally. The Ganapati celebrations are still as boisterous.
Dilip Vengsarkar (cricketer)
With people from other states flocking here, the pockets of peace are gone. Slum lords have taken over the open spaces to build huge colonies. Travelling by local trains has become a nightmare. Roads are filthy. Mumbai today is a dying city. Once, it was a beautiful place. I’ve spent most of my life in Dadar. My friends and I would play galli cricket in the six by-lanes near my place. Now there is no place to even park a bike or car.
Queenie Dhody (socialite)
What I miss most about Mumbai is Bombay. There was a time when it was fearless. But today, I can no longer walk into the Taj Mahal Hotel and feel at home. The city’s image has been tarnished forever. I also yearn for the hotel’s nightspot 1900.
Pria Kataria Puri (designer)
1900 closed down a few years ago. I have fond memories of the well-dressed glam crowd, the music and the food. Theatre has gone out of our lives too. Fewer plays are staged at forme strongholds like St Andrew’s.
I have grown up in Bandra. When I was a kid, there were lots of bungalows around and
single-storeyed buildings at every corner. They’ve been replaced with high-rises. Even the sparrows in the
narrow alleys have flown away.
AD Singh (Restaurateur)
I miss the Irani restaurants, especially Cafe Naaz. My first restaurant, Just Desserts, was started at a Irani place, Parisian Café. The food wasn’t that good but the experience was unmatched.
Shveta Salve (TV actress)
When I was a kid I used to play in the gardens adjoining my house. Today, the open spaces are gone. Children spend more time on video games and playstations and get fatter and fatter. There should be more playgrounds.