I took this photo at Nariman Point in Mumbai during a visit a few years ago. It was just a general scene, I wasn’t trying to capture anything in specific. However, upon looking at the photo when I returned home, I realised how it tells the story of modern Mumbai.
Actually, if you look carefully, there are three stories to tell. On the left is a group of ladies in their traditional attire, with their children, enjoying the sea view, chatting and listening intently. One of them is deep in a conversation and has her left hand stretched out, as though she is emphasizing a point. They are probably taking a break from their daily household chores, enjoying each other’s company in their outing together.
The couple in the middle is also deep in a conversation. The lady on the left is taking the lead in the conversation (also with her left hand stretched out), while the man has his head bent down, gazing at his mobile and listening to her. She seems to be voicing her concern about something, as though she is seeking his opinion. He, while obviously ‘multi-tasking’ (eyes on mobile, ears for her), is respectful and certainly seems to enjoy her companionship.
The young man on the right is gazing directly at the sea and the skyline. He has removed his shoes and is sitting comfortably, deep in his thoughts. Perhaps thinking about his future dreams and aspirations? Or is he dealing with unrequited love? Who knows? But his intent forward-looking gaze seems to reflect his tenacity and determination to meet his future using the best of his strength and abilities.
The Mumbai that I saw is a city of juxtapositions — where old meets new and traditions meet rapid modernisation. The hustle and bustle on the busy streets and the loud honking of car and tuk tuk horns still remain the same. Even then, there seems to be a certain serenity seen through its people’s smiling eyes and their unquenchable determination to bravely face life’s challenges and adversities. Serenity in the midst of the noise of life — yes, that’s certainly possible.