The city of dreams, that’s where I live, my Bombay.

The city where dreams die, that’s where I live too, my Mumbai. 

Of course we’ve had a lot of names over the centuries – Boon Bay, Bombain, Mombayn,  Bombaym, Monbaym, Mombaym, Bombay, Mombaim, Bambaye, Bombeye, Bombaiim, and more; and now Maha Amba, Mumba and Mumbai.

‘What’s in a name’? the bard said. Was he right or was he wrong?

Bombay, the city with a heritage; Mumbai, the city that’s lost.

Bombay, the resplendent princess wearing the Marine Drive as a necklace; Mumbai, the place of squalor and corruption.

Bombay, the treasury of India and the sieve of royalty; Mumbai, the drain of cash and the seed of disappointment.

Bombay, endless roads, and national parks and tigers; Mumbai, potholes, thieves and accidents.

Bombay, where you won’t go hungry because you can buy a vada pav for a few rupees; Mumbai, where someone steals that one vada pav because they’re hungry too.

Bombay, where eve the poor have a place, even if it is the footpat; Mumbai, where your taxes pay for tall walls to surround rich people’s homes.

Bombay, where you do community service to pay for your wrongs; Mumbai, where money is a get out of jail free card.

Bombay, the melting pot of culture ; Mumbai, a single party rules.

Bombay, where everyone inches further into the train to make place for you; Mumbai, where bullet trains are built for the rich while the middle class are doomed to die.

Bombay, where strangers help each other; Mumbai, where the police and the politicians don’t care.

Bombay, the pride of India; Mumbai, her shame.

I had a dream; the dream was Bombay. But I am faced with the reality; the reality is Mumbai.

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