I did the touristy thing yesterday. Went to town for some work and like all foreigners visiting Mumbai do, took pictures of the lovely buildings surrounding VT. Though it feels and looks completely weird to do something like that , I did it nevertheless. It feels weird cause in your head you are thinking ” I live in this city. Do I need to click pictures of buildings?!?” and it looks weird because all the people on the street look at you in surprise. Apparently, if you are a firang tourist doing the exact same thing, its acceptable; else all the people running their tiny make-shift shops (locally known as the tapari)conclude that there is something fundamentally wrong with you. The fact that it is rush hour and there are hoards of people trying to walk on the path and you are obstructing their way trying to find the perfect angle doesn’t help the situation!
I had a reason for indulging in this rather impromptu photo session. Around a month back the BMC sold off the Crawford Market for redevelopment. Don’t think I am kidding when I say that. They actually sold off a heritage building so that a newer, more modern and in all probability high rise structure could be built in place of it. As unbelievable as that sounds, I have by now become pretty resistant to the shocks that the city’s municipal corporation gives regularly to its residents(not that I am truly a resident of the city. But even if u live some 35 kms away from town, you still think you are a Mumbaikar!) I am sure that once they seriously begin discussion the re-construction plan there will be a huge hue and cry. And a few PILs, rallies, morchas and NGO-motivated press releases later the plan will be shelved. After all we are talking of a market that was once the largest covered market in the whole of Asia. You can’t just let that go. I am hoping we don’t. Its too beautiful a structure to tear down. Plus it’s a landmark. You can’t have a high rise in place of the Crawford Market. It just wouldn’t look right.