I am still amazed by the levels of disparity this city, so proudly, exhibits. There are no qualms about the vast differences between the rich and the poor. A few weeks ago, I spent the weekend at a friend’s place who lives in a high-rise building; on the 21st floor, to be precise. It was my first time spending the night in a high-rise in Mumbai, and it was an experience, for sure.
As I stood out on the balcony in the morning, I was in awe of the vision I beheld. Several yards ahead of me, was a beautiful skyline of Mumbai’s finest high rises, each one more stunning than the other. I managed to take a few pictures of them. Of course, they are not very clear, thanks to the bloody levels of smog that cloaks this city at any given point in time:
These high rises are mushrooming all over the city and one has to pay a very steep price to possess a flat in such a building. One of the most coveted buildings in Mumbai are the World Towers, in which World One, is projected to be thee world’s tallest residential tower. This building will be located in Mumbai’s Upper Worli, the new Beverly Hills of Mumbai, where a number of high rises are making their way into the city’s skies. The highlight of this tower is that the interiors are designed by Armani/ Casa….you can only imagine the rest. And if you can’t, please note that the tower is set in 18 acres of land and is as tall as 1400 feet, and offers a host of facilities and amenities to cater to every taste and senses one can imagine. Someone I know who is currently working on the project, mentioned to me that the lowest price to buy a flat in this building starts at INR 10 crores ($ 1,815,646.67), going all the way to INR 50 crores ( a mere sum of $ 9,078,446.67).
When I stood at the very same balcony and I looked right below me, I was amazed, but not surprised, by what I saw: a major slum that sat pretty amongst the high rises and the race course; amongst the affluence and pretentiousness. This sprawling slum was a stark contrast to the previous image; a deep reminder of the several shades of life. On one hand, there were people where money poured out of every pore of their body. On the other hand, there were people who probably did not know where their next meal was coming from. Such is the tragedy of Mumbai, amongst many. Have a look:
Interesting contrast of the slums against some of the high rises:
I am no longer shocked or saddened by such contrasts. I have come to accept these as part and parcel of living in Mumbai; as one of the many characteristics of vibrant Mumbai. But the universe always has a lesson to teach me and I had a good laugh when I stood in the very same balcony and looked to my left. Lo and behold! I was greeted by a Christian cemetery that was plonked right amongst the towers and the slums. And it reminded me of the impermanence of things, the impermanence of material things and the illusion and seduction of this vast city that constantly lures people into believing they are in the land where dreams come true.
Rich or poor, black or white, privileged or unprivileged……we all end up in the same place at some point or the other. In the final analysis, it doesn’t matter if you give in to the city’s seduction or if you struggle at the raw fringes of society.What really matters is your humanness and how you conduct yourself in times of sadness and joy, in times of tragedy and success. What matters is not the material wealth and exuberant house you may live in, but the gratitude you develop for the simple pleasures of life.
My latest mantra is “Develop an attitude of gratitude”. Some days are harder than others, but I still try and I know it’s worth it.