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We [heart] Mumbai

india Updated: Jun 01, 2012 16:13 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times
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If you’ve shopped on the streets of Mumbai, chances are you’ve seen several imitations of the ‘I [heart]…’ (…something or the other) logo on T-shirts. Over the years, it has become one of the most-imitated signages in the world.

In 1977, American graphic designer Milton Glaser sketched out the simple logo — I [heart] NY. I remember reading about this campaign in college. It was meant to boost tourism in New York when things had gone awry. Crime was rampant and the recession was upon them. Broadway, which was the Big Apple’s biggest tourist attraction, became the one thing you had to see in the city. The campaign was a massive reviving force in the cultural scene of New York, the city that’s often compared to Mumbai.

A friend, who lived there for a year or two, says: “New York is Mumbai on steroids.” The streets are as crowded, the parties as wild, the people as busy and things as expensive. Except beer. We pay more for a regular pint of beer here (Rs 200) than most New Yorkers do. Sad, yes.

A similar, silent ‘I [heart] Mumbai’ campaign is currently brewing in this city ever since the crackdown on nightlife began. People are upset and frustrated, stand-up comics are having the time of their lives taking digs and newspapers are, for once, on the party lovers’ side.

However, those who have seen this city’s party scene evolve, over the decades feel all this will end in a few months. Things will go back to normal. But they’ll never go back to the 5 am nights, they also add.

When I moved to this city (eight years ago), Phoenix Mills was abuzz till 5 am. There were five clubs (maybe more) there alone — Provogue Lounge, Lush, White, Aziano and Ra. After-party breakfast would be at A1 Bakery in Bandra and sleep would come as soon as the sun was up. THAT was normal.

City bar owners have planned a meeting. I think I know what they’ll discuss. I can only imagine in a city like Mumbai, where just the rent of these venues and staff salaries are enough to drill a sieve through the pocket, money is definitely a concern.

Mumbai, like NY, is India’s business capital. Everything here is part of a larger machinery that contributes to the economy. Getting people to go to bed early (as our police commissioner Arup Patnaik wants), is only sticking a spoke in this wheel. All this moral policing is already leading to massive losses in the nightclub business. Happy, sad or frustrated, a drink is always in demand. Last orders, anyone?