This year I went to India twice. Once for my MA in Gujarati part II exam during the summer and again in December for the entrance exam for the Ph.D. program. With the grace of God I got admitted into the program. I will be writing a thesis on comparative study of Gujarati Diaspora poems written by women. Any information or suggestions are welcome.
After a long time I stayed in Mumbai for a week because S.N.D.T. University is in Mumbai. It was a great pleasure meeting Dr. Nutan Jani and some relatives that used to come to our mango farm that I had not seen in such a long time. I saw Jamshedji Tata’s bungalow and Ambaani’s multi story building from one of the relative’s balcony. Another relative has a very good view of the ocean (worli sea face area) and one that I stayed with lives in JVPD Juhu, an area surrounded by Bollywood stars. I could see Amitabh Bachchan’s terrace from their 8th floor balcony.
I have always had a high respect for Amitabh Bachchan, not only for being an artist, but also for being the son of a great poet. The society my parents and grandparents grew up with used to think of movie stars as a low class community and I heard that the poet Harivanshray was not so happy about Amitabh working in the film industry at first. Luckily things have changed over the years and movie stars now get more importance than ever before. People now see them as great artists with great hearts, and somewhat I agree with them. However, I was surprised when looking at Amitabh Bachchan’s terrace, let me tell you why.
One day during lunch time I was standing in my host’s balcony with the wife of my father’s friend. She pointed out three bungalows in front of us and told me who the owners are. One of them was Amitabh’s bungalow and it stood out like a new building. The terrace was also different from all the others with shining tiles. The other major difference my eyes caught was the birds sitting on the other two bungalows. No bird sat for even a minute on Amitabh’s terrace and I was there for about a half an hour. I pointed out the differences to the woman I was with and she said she noticed the other two owners more often feeding the birds but did not see a bird feeder on Amitabh’s terrace. Now you know why I was surprised. Artists may be able to express their feelings better but this does not mean those feelings are true. In that sense writers or any other artists are no different than movie stars. Sometimes because of the importance they get their egos become so big that they may not be able to come back down to earth.
I hope to see a bird feeder on Amitabh Bachchan’s terrace when I go again, perhaps I missed it this time. May be they are still feeding the birds at a different time or in a different way. But his bungalow was certainly standing out in comparison to his neighbors : The look of a new building and a terrace without a bird.
Well, I saw the beauty of Mumbai after a long time and wanted to see more, but my visit was too short. The bridge of Bandra –Worli Sea link connecting island and the suburbs of Mumbai were one of the most beautiful traffic solutions I have seen.
It was great to see that all the relatives I met were as loving as they had been and had not changed over the years. Also my brother’s company as well as my friend Meena’s company helped me get through some boring shopping.
The most precious moment was celebrating the birth of our family friend’s grandson. Long live Krishaan!