Ghost city

At 6 in the evening, the center of Mumbai was like a ghost of itself. In the blue hour, I caught Flora fountain looking like a funeral, a few mourners standing and gawking. Niece Moja has taken the day off from counseling and spent the day with us. After her partner finished an interview (you can carry your work with you when it moves online) we drove out for a coffee and this funeral. The fountain was built in the 1860s, when the British built Fort George was finally demolished, at its former Church Gate. The antennas belong to the Central Telegraph Office. Ugly constructions like that belong to the 1960s.

Another change is coming now. The new Mumbai metro will have a station at the fountain. Metro stations everywhere have the same construction: either a single cylinder with platforms on two sides, or two cylinders passing a central platform. When that hole in the ground is filled up, this station will have a central platform, and a first underground level for customer services. The city is slowly changing. Niece Moja is one of the small fraction of millennial Mumbaikars who actually knows south Mumbai; she spent her college years haunting cafes and restaurants here.

But even she was surprised that a desirable property just next to the fountain had been entirely taken over by Zara. The blaze of lights from its open doors showed us a cyclist and a person parking a scooter. I don’t think the shop’s had a customer in a while. Mumbai has split so visibly into the two cities that it always was: the service providers who must brave the horrible lengthened commute every day to open shops which the service takers are too afraid to go into. The corona virus will become endemic, we have to learn to live with it. Care, not fear, is the future.

Author: I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

14 thoughts on “Ghost city”

  1. The food joints and cafes are badly hit, many food joints in my place have closed down. The wine shops are doing brisk business though…

    Those Ghost town photos reminded me of Kudremukh town which I had visited some time after it was closed down and vacated.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Same here. Our downtown has been a ghost town since March. We are well into the second wave with partial lockdowns in most regions. I’m certain that many of the businesses and restaurants that have been forced to close a second time will not re-open 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Care not fear: we were in a restaurant yesterday that the manager said was doing 80% of its previous business. But most of that business is through carry-out, so many servers have lost their jobs although the restaurant survives.

    Liked by 1 person

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