Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, 10 January 2019, 0835 hours:
Just touched Bombay … Mumbai. When I was growing up in Mumbai in the 1970s and 80s and 90s, everybody used the three names of the city, depending on which language they were speaking and who the audience comprised. Yes, three names- Mumbai when I spoke in Marathi, Bumbai in my Hindi speaking circles and Bombay for the English speaking part of my world.
English itself had four names so to say – Ingraji (Marathi), Ingreeji (Bengali circles), Angreji (Hindi) and of course English. Like most other multi-lingual, multi-cultural kids then, I used to switch place names effortlessly as we switched languages. It was a very wide, very inclusive, very self-confident world that we grew up in. Come to think of it, left to their own devices, peoples from different cultures have a survival instinct to naturally respect other peoples and cultures – because that is how you obtain respect from others: reciprocity.
Would the Himalayas be greater or lesser if we called it by another name? Would the heart beating inside me have a different purpose and intent if I called it ‘Palm’?
It’s odd how the mind flits from thought to thought. And how many miles it flies in a short span. We are almost at Mumbai Airport now … and I have travelled from 1970s Mumbai to Delhi in the 1990s and Himalayas and back in a matter of 20 minutes.
I guess we travel further in our imagination and across time and space and it is that imagination which drives us to travel more and differently!