Friday, September 23, 2005

Sunday, September 18, 2005

City: Mumbai

Once upon a time, a time not very distant future or the past, but somewhere in between, in a city peopled by different communities, cultures and classes, occurring together…
Infrastructure spun within it like veins and arteries connecting it to the lakes, the sea and its palpitating heart. To the west was an orb, which glowed and produced energy for the city.
Forest found refuge in the centre, with walls broken in parts and remnants of histories collaged in the center of the forest, in the form of caves dotting the cliffs as slithering path wound itself along the stony hillocks. A forest surrounded by a mega polis. Sometimes the forest would invade the city and other times the city would intrude into the forest, waging an undying battle of man and nature.
South of forest few distances away is a slum, a collage of cultures, materials and activities.
A machine with different parts alive, coexisting, symbiotically and parasitically like a complex organism evolved towards being in a constant state of metamorphosis.
The eastern coast of the city lay bare with concrete, rust and oil stains with machines and men alike, working in cohesion rusting, decaying…and dying.
The 5 lakes of the city provided the city with water.
Water all around the edge forms a jagged profile, at times entering inside the city like roots branching and sub branching in the soil, forming creeks and marshy areas. Strange trees with roots popping out grow in these marshy wastelands where, small animals and birds find solace on the city’s edge.
In the older parts of the city, lie ruins of not very distant past, when the city played an important role in the manufacturing of fabrics…fabrics which spun through machines handled by men, both working in unison to become one. In the hay days the fabrics made were magical, as they clittered clattered out of steel machines eating spindles and spindles of yarn and sometimes even an unfortunate worker’s limb. When this happened the mill would be closed and the stained bale of cloth would be ripped and thrown into the ponds to decompose. Every mill had a pond.
The concrete roads flow through the city narrowing and widening, as they rise and fall on the ground, swirling and looping going through different parts of the city…narrowing and widening…like choked arteries.
The railway lines mark three distinct sharp scar like marks on the surface of the city as seen in the geological maps as they cut through built forms, slums, hills, and everything that once might have come in their way reducing it to gravel under their thundering tracks.
The inner city, also known as the suburbs, a collage of developed, developing and undeveloped lands, with housing interspersed with the green cover. In some parts tall brightly colored towers rise up above the sprawl of housing and roads.
On the western coast the city gradually slopes down to the sea forming distinct sandy coastlines. The city has 2 clear sandy coastlines that curve inwards.
The city also houses villages within it, in pockets and crevices of developments, along the waterfront, belonging to the fishing folk, the keepers of forgotten history, the treasurers of enchantments, the makers of the boats of our dreams, stand on the horizon waiting, with an eye to the sea. 
The city has a wide range of markets, most of them selling fish, nuts, taps, cloth, animals, fruits, flowers, diodes and many other things which reveal themselves in the constantly shiftings of the market within itself, as it arranges and rearranges itself with respect to the things it sells and the seasons.
It is a constantly changing city, mutating, adapting and most importantly living.