That every city has a character is like stating every walking being on Earth has a life. Sometimes the character is hidden. Many other times, there are several aspects of the city that stands out that nuances and shades of what a city possesses go unnoticed.
Say ‘Mumbai’ to a non-Mumbai chap and check out what comes to their mind, for instance. It usually is ‘trains’, ‘commercial capital’, ‘busy city’ and the like with a tinge of ‘how-do-you-manage-top-live-there’ expression. A small tinge. Occasionally that tinge is also laced with envy!
Of course, asking a Mumbaikar would get very different answers. But somehow such views and opinions grow on to create an impression of a reality.
In a place where ‘utility’ outruns ‘aesthetics’ by many pot hole ridden kilometers, well represented by ugly high rises that zoom into polluted air with nonchalance and flyovers that seem to come up with such and distasteful ease, causing every sane person walking to wonder what on Earth were Mumbai’s urban planners chewing on. They could well chewing on ‘data’ on the burgeoning population and the exacting firmness of land available. They could well have a point there.
But all of that is besides the point for today's post. The story is this. The other day, we were having a filter coffee in Matunga when a friend nudged my attention to the closed door of a mattress store. It was a Sunday. And the store was yet to open.
The colour pattern on the door was arresting. The colour contrasted rectangles within rectangles and the paddled locks on the door redeemed the apology of a filter coffee that was served by the chap next door.
We clicked a few pictures and moved on.
Many days later as I scanned all the images clicked that morning, this snap remained a personal favourite of sorts.
The fact that the existence of the doorway had to be pointed out to me while I was sitting right there, was not lost on me. The fact that this was a simple mattress store and that this the store would soon open concealing the yellow & blue rectangles came alive as well was not either.
To not have a keen eye is a different story. But to have had it and suddenly discover that its been missing for a while now, brings to bear the question: “where the hell did it go?”