There is a rage in cities that disturbs me. I say this even as I carry my identity as city-dweller with ease. What gets termed ‘energy’ is a euphemism for the discordance, the violence of urban living. I think about design solutions that will ease our challenges and realise it’ll take no time for them to be vandalised. Everything and everyone is shouting & grabbing. It is as if harmony is anathema. Imagine how that feels to me, whose very name means harmony?
Yet, I tell myself, there is room in a garden for the delicate blooms, the sturdy shrubs, the pungent herbs and the resilient weeds. I must figure out which I am to be in each moment. I’m still learning.
I’m drawn to quieter, more harmonious places. They aren’t all pretty or rich. Indeed, sometimes they are broken mills, garbage-infested flamingo watchpoints or crowded beaches. But I see life surge through in the sunlight on the cracked windowpane, the pale pink of feathers against plastic palattes. The very imperfections and dissonance that make it a living city.
Maybe this is my way of harmonising with a cacaphonic world. There are enough of pleasant surprises though, like this bylane I discovered in one of the fakest places in the city. Barely ten steps into the wrong lane took me into another decade, a different world when Bandra was a sleepy Catholic suburb. Complete with elaborate grillwork, wrought iron gates, much loved gardens and romantic names.
These exist too. I guess life always finds a way. In a city, it just zips around pretty quick.