For The Love of Bombay
Updated: Jun 7, 2021
A few minutes on Pinterest is enough to spark a few embers of outrage in me. Pinterest loves Paris. It’s full of pictures of Paris. The Eiffel Tower in the early morning mist. The Eiffel Tower in spring, summer and sparkling amidst the snowflakes of winter. And of course, the Eiffel Tower, lit up at night, glittering like something magical. It’s freakin’ outstanding.
So what’s the problem? It’s this: I feel bad for Bombay.
If you type ‘Bombay’ or even ‘Mumbai’ in the image search toolbar of pretty much any site, this is what you get.
Beggars Dhobi Ghat Gateway of India Beggars Traffic Jam Bombay Sapphire Gin Crowded markets Crowded roads Crowded railway stations VT station Antilla Beggars Pictures of Old Bombay Dharavi The Taj Mahal Hotel Beggars
No, hey, I get it, Bombay IS all these things. But is it just these things? Isn’t there any photographer in this entire city who can see the innate romance, the hidden beauty of this place? And if there is, then why won’t he or she put up their little pictorial love-songs to the city on Pinterest? Show me Bombay skies pregnant with rain clouds. Show me South Bombay roads, empty and welcoming on a weekend. Show me the view from Malabar Hill in the grey light of dawn. Show me the fiery gulmohurs on Ballard Estate in spring. Go on, show me.
I’ve never been to Paris. Or New York. Or London. But common sense dictates that none of these cities can exist without poverty-stricken ghettos, traffic jams and all the other urban madness that makes a city a city. Photographers have merely looked beyond these things and captured the beauty of these places.
It’s about time we did the same with Bombay. No?