Photo Credits : Shanu Babar
The pigeons of Bombay are so fearless…..
The pandemonium of Mumbai pigeons
The pigeons of Bombay are fearless; they won’t flutter a single feather if you pass by. They are conditioned to this city, to people scurrying around, sometimes aimlessly, sometimes with an urgent purpose. As a lone woman traveller, it’s not easy to manoeuvre your way on the streets of one of the most crowded Metropolitan cities in India. The pulse of the city can be felt by travelling by the local trains in rush hour or steering your way through the densely inhabited streets which paint the ironic juxtaposition of the tallest corporate skyscrapers and impoverished, old cramped buildings or “Chawls” as my taxi driver would call them.
The Lower Parel area houses eminent corporate buildings, chaotic yet colourful “chawls” and provides sustenance to street side peddlers who sell everything from snacks to daily household items and peculiar garlands of green chillies and lemons to ward off evil. After a long excursion on foot, I board the famous honeybee coloured Bombay cabs and we steer our way towards Bandra, Bandstand, the elite residential area which is famous for its party culture and is home to many Bollywood stars like the indisputable “King Khan”. The taxi glides on the Bandra worli Sea link that bypasses 23 traffic signals in merely 8 minutes and when I gaze out the taxi window, the pleasant sea breeze plays with my raven coloured hair as the gigantic pylons frame the most mesmerizing sight any eyes can fathom. The waves crash loudly against the gigantic pillars and the sea gleams and reflects traffic headlights in the night merging into the breathtaking skyline of zenith smooching high rises twinkling in the dark. I get goosebumps and the awe inspiring beauty that flaunts the skyscrapers silently shoves the “Chawls” and the roadside peddlers, the lifelines of the city, the very memory of their existence in Mumbai to a dark underbelly.
“Your psychometric report says you’re a hard hearted person, un-diplomatic and prone to fight on face. Is that you??” read the learned Director of the eminent media college in which I was trying to gain admission in the Public Relations course.
I felt the muffler around my neck tightening. “ummmm yes that’s me” I said unapologetically. Though that hard hearted bit could have been debated on.
“How will u deal with public relations then??” Was the next straightforward query thrown at me.
My mind went through a whirlwind of thoughts, each arguing with other’s belief. How important is it I asked myself to be subtle and diplomatic in our day to day dealings. Like how right is it to call an ass a ass right on its face. The polite one’s would insist upon calling it a donkey or maybe perhaps even a horse. The proponents of diplomacy would call it the art of telling a person to go to hell such that he actually looks forward to the trip. Those opposing this two-facedness will say that they don’t really care about wasting their time in disguising the fox as the innocuous lamb.
Why should things that need to be spoken need to be lisped, rehearsed and worthlessly made to beat around the bushes. Why should the truth be hidden and cloaked with white lies. Why should we need to put up a Hippocratic facade of the relations we nurture when in reality there is a hollow pretense. What is the need to give the patient medicines coated in redundant sugar syrup. Why should someone be backstabbed and deceived.
Diplomacy might earn you enemies initially. People might find you blunt and difficult to swallow. But it’s my personal guarantee that this will earn you one priceless gem that can never be bought –RESPECT! U will be labeled brash, insensitive, rude and the un-diplomatic but yet your enemies will hate to admit that u are one of those rare personalities who dare to speak out the truth unabashed. For believe me, it’s for eternity proved and guaranteed that a truth spoken on face is valued more than the one that goes around as stinging gossip.
But perhaps sometimes it’s better to save a relation by being a little subtle. Ok quit it. I’m not diplomatic and I know it. And there I am with this vice that is both my weakness and strength. I know there are people who call me offensive and sharp and there are others who will swear to the fact that never would I plunge as low as to backbite and adopt double standards. There are people who hate me and others who love me, there never were and never will be the third category of relations built on pretense and deception. This isn’t self eulogy but a trait with which I’ve lived long enough to acknowledge it.
So are you willing to change if u get admitted to this course??” I was asked, my chain of thought interrupted.
“No, that’s something innate, it can’t be altered” I said. For a moment, I regretted what I said.
I came out of the room knowing that I’ll either be doomed or through this college.
And I made it to the Public relations course with all my brazen brashness!!