If there is any God of Urbanization, one who claims credit for the cities of the world, He must be keeping aside the few hours of dawn everyday just to sit and watch Mumbai waking up… It’s a magical sight, watching this city rising and gearing up for another day….
I was sitting at my window this morning, waiting for a good moment to take a nice picture to go with this post… and this is what I posted on Facebook: “Watching the dawn breaking outside as I am finishing my work… its something else.. to see Mumbai at this hour… its like looking at the face of a hyperactive child when he is fast asleep… the chaos and the madness will soon set in… but for now, there is peace… and it looks beautiful…”
Have you ever done this…? Just sat in a window with a view of the city in the small hours of the morning and watched morning setting in..? I have.. My window overlooks a large part of the suburbs and since I work through most nights, I am generally awake at dawn and I get to feast my eyes on the sight.
It is an amazing experience. Almost poetic. Morning, in this city begins way before the Sun has even set on the other side of the world. We don’t have the time to wait for the Sun to rise. We have our own private suns captured in little spheres and tubes of glass, waiting to bring in the morning as and when we please, at our bidding with the flick of a switch. These small, individual points of light begin flickering and rising in tens of hundreds of windows as the people wake up to begin the day. The almost empty arterial roads start showing signs of activity; a precursor of the heavy traffic that will begin thronging them in a matter of hours.
999The harbingers of morning; newspaper men, milk men, car washers and a plethora of others start dotting the streets even before the sky is hit with the first blush of morning. There is no lethargy in their movements; they are quick and efficient as they go about their job so that their clients may begin their days shortly. Pressure cookers whistle from various apartments and the sounds of food processors spatter the air as the first shafts of light begin to appear on the horizon. Women line up at municipal taps to collect their stock of water in areas that still don’t have a 24 hr water line. Then slowly, as the blood of sun rays starts enervating the sky and heralding the sun rise, a soft rumble of vehicles starts increasing as more people begin movement. Then as the sun well and truly begins making his presence felt before actually rising, there are a few moments; the magic moments. Church bells sound from one direction, from another, the sound of the morning azaan issues from a mosque or two. A few temple bells from somewhere. For a few moments, the city is just a middle class working person, having gotten ready for the day, standing before God with eyes shut, arms folded and with a prayer on the lips, asking for blessings before stepping out for the day. It is a matter of moments. A few snatched bits of a calm hardly found during the day…..and then, the turmoil sets in. People hurry to work places in different states of disarray, stuck to their mobile phones. There is no time to halt now, no moment of prayer. Only the urgency of the moment and the task of going through the day and managing to survive. Cars flood the streets, buses honk, trains over flowing with men and women begin to shuttle across the city and Mumbai begins another day….