It’s important to understand Mumbai and what it’s all about. Recently a fantastic fifty reasons were penned down by Kanika Parab & Mansi Poddar on CNNGo about why Mumbai should be considered the greatest city in the World. The list includes six features which play a relevant role in ‘The Taxi Takes on Terror.’
So at number three there is the Famous Ladies Specials which even got press in the New York Times article I posted. Yes it’s good for Indian women to have a hassle free commute.Though I think woman, all around the World have commuting stories of alarm and horror that they could share.
Leopold Cafe, and it’s distinctive charm and toughness is at number 24. I know that people still throng this bar and the 26/11 attack didn’t make any dent in it’s popularity. In fact more people probably go to see the bullet holes and shattered glass now more than ever.
And at number three we have the taxis! The ‘kalee peelee’ or black and yellow cabs which are fun and noisy, old and sacred, tarnished and decorated, sturdy and yet unfortunately slowly leaving the landscape of the city. The Government has passed a law that forbids taxis that are older than 25 years to stay on the streets. So the iconic Fiat taxis are being replaced by zippier Omnis, Santros and Marutis. But you’ll get to see a lot of these soon to be vintage classics on The Taxi Takes. So stay glued:)
The ‘dhobhi ghats’ of Bombay are a historic place where the laundry of Bombay comes to be washed at row upon rows of stone wash pens. A ‘dhobhi’ is a washerman and nearly two hundred ‘dhobhis’ will wash clothes together at any given time. I met two of these ‘dhobhis’ who have been washing clothes in Bombay as part of a profession that has been passed on to them by their grand fathers. At one point when the taxi driver and two washermen were talking in the taxi, I chuckled to myself thinking I really had an incredible slice of the working class! So at number 37 we have the Dhobhi ghats.
Haji Ali , the miraculous floating Dargah comes in at number 43. Built in 1431 by Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, a rich Muslim merchant it is one of the most recognizable structures off the coast of Southern Mumbai. I have some wonderful footage of the taxi driver Jamid Ali standing near the mosque , by the water’s edge as the sun was setting behind him. He sang a song he had written in dedication to his mother, who died when he was nine. I’ll put a clip of him on his profile page eventually.
The last reason was because there were so many holidays in Mumbai. Due to it’s multi cultural, multi ethnic and secular nature India houses every religion in the World. So at any given time of the year Indians can expect to have a holiday celebrating either a Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Parsi, Buddhist, Sikh or Jain tradition.
The other reasons are also fun, brilliant and definitely worth a read for anyone who has heard of Mumbai but never been there. A great city in a wonderful country. More on Mumbai later.