Thinking of Mumbai

To Abhishek, who occasionally reads this blog from Mumbai: Condolences and sympathies for this week’s events!

Abhishek, of course, is the podcaster who has had me on his show a few times, and who contributed this very witty video reportage to The Economist as part of my Special Report on Mobility. (Unfortunately, I can’t link to his video, but search for Abhishek on our video page. Sorry!)

Abhishek, in time, whenever you’re ready, I’m sure we’ll hear what your experience was during these past couple of days.

For now, here is an elegy to Mumbai, by Suketu Mehta.
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6 thoughts on “Thinking of Mumbai

  1. Abhishek’s video reportage was indeed a wonderful one, whose images combined with his husky and light-humored voice had me watching his piece over and over again. The example of the highway repairmain who posts his mobile number on roadsides was used by me to illustrate to telecom executives how to innovate beyond ringtones in emerging markets.

    In the past few days, as the drama in Mumbai has unfolded, Abhishek’s piece often flashed through my head. In fact I have to attribute his podcast interview with you as the source to introducing me to your blog.

    The BBC’s Humphrey Hawksley wrote novel, Dragon Fire, which has a dramatic ending at pretty much the same place where last week’s Mumbai drama took place — and in just the same way with journalists camped at the southern tip of the city. His novel’s images were another source of my flashbacks to images from Maximum City.

    Most of Friday I was fixated to live images being streamed by NDTV and CNN-IBN, both offering live online streams of their local broadcasts – a privilege even certain Mumbaikars were not allowed to have as cable TV services were cut. Aditya Mhatre, who runs The Indicast with Abhishek posted this on his Blog last Friday.

    Feedback to the folks at The Economist – sharing the video, such as Abhishek’s is indeed cumbersome. I tried sharing it with utter failure. Example – sharing it over facebook worked (as a link) for one week and then it auto-linked to a different reportage.

  2. Thanks, Siddhartha. I loved the Abhishek’s video just as much.
    You’re Indian, I assume?
    Regarding the feedback: I’ll have an opportunity this coming week to pass this on to our web folks, and will certainly do so. I’m just as frustrated by it as you.

  3. It has been tough. I know someone who knew someone who got killed at the Taj. Unlike the train blasts (in 2006) when they blew up everything in a moment, this time it was a long drawn out affair and was being filmed live as it happened.

    Right now, Bombay is trying hard NOT to forget it and sleep soundly under the infamous rug of ‘Spirit of Mumbai’

    A friend of mine wrote a blog post just the other day and it summarises the “feeling of impotence” that has seeped in every Mumbaikar’s life –

    http://www.theindicast.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7900422&Itemid=85

    Thanks Siddhartha for your kind words. I enjoyed clicking all those pictures and narrating the stories. Credit also goes to the multimedia team at The Economist for stitching those pictures nicely. Hope all’s well at your end if you were around Mumbai during that time…

    Thanks Andreas for dropping in a line here on your blog. The picture that you have chosen tells the story, doesn’t it? A couple of years ago if my mom would have said, ‘Give me a call when you reach office,” I would have laughed, but now, I would not argue with her if she asks me to do that… It’s a little unsettling and sometimes kills you because you can’t do much about it. You have to go to work the next day in that local train hoping that the guy sitting next to you is not strapped with a bomb.

  4. Life is mumbai is getting back to business as usual but there are some changes that I have noticed in my fellow local train commuters which I wanted to share.

    1. As soon as people get out of CST station (CST is the main trains station where around 60 people were killed), people whip out their cell phone and start SMSing. And if you just stand there and observe, who’ll see a trend. Most of them wait not more than 10 seconds. Probably typing short messages “reached” or have created SMS templates. I can also see a lot of short short telephone conversations happening. Most probably on the same lines.

    2. While in train, many people observe who is getting into the train and the number of bags he is carrying. If a person even moves a few seats away from his bags, he is promptly asked to take his bags with him.

    3. My office is next to oberoi hotel, the goodbyes at the end of the day have changed from “See you tomorrow” to “See you if I see you”. I am not kidding!

  5. Very moving thoughts, guys–including Dhananjay’s post.
    Aditya, I can just feel the tension and anxiety from your description. “See you if I see you” is so macabre that I wonder whether Mumbaikars are enlisting a dark sense of humor in their psychological defenses…

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