A couple of months back, I had this twitter conversation with a friend, who had just returned to Mumbai after 3 years abroad.
@mumbailocal Gosh. All these skyscrapers! The Mumbai skyline will soon look like a mad New York.
I wouldn’t have thought much about this exchange if I had not seen this view the previous day.
That day, I was returning from South Bombay to Chembur by car. Normally, I prefer not to travel by road as the local train is faster and more convenient. But I had a friend with me on that day, and her husband had very kindly lent us his car and driver. So there we were on the Lalbagh Flyover in the Parel area, crawling in the evening traffic and taking in the sights. Looming ahead of us was a set of highrises which made for quite an impressive skyline. I am not fond of highrises, but to see them glowing in the setting sun was a quite a sight to behold.
I was so mesmerised by the skyline that it took me a while to realise what these highrises had replaced—the (in) famous textile mills of Parel in Mumbai. So instead of the mill chimneys which used to dominate the skyline till some time ago, there were these towering skyrises. These were skyrises which had displaced entire communities, lifestyles and a way of life, and were adding a chapter to the history of Mumbai.
And then as we were almost exiting the flyover, I saw this lone, almost forlorn-looking, chimney silhouetted against the sky, probably wondering how long it would be there.
Change is inevitable. Change is a constant. And yet, sometimes, change happens by trampling on someone’s else’s dreams, livelihoods… Change is inevitable, but it can be cruel too.
Mumbai Lens is a photographic series which, as the name suggests, is Mumbai-centric and is an attempt to capture the various moods of the city through my camera lens. You can read more posts from this series here.