Thursday, May 13, 2010

URBAN OASIS

Sometimes, I travel to the ad agency where I work part-time via a little neighbourhood called Amboli in Andheri. It is a place where many of the residents are Catholics, and it's a place where things seems to slow down of their own accord.

My auto-rickshaw, which hurtles down the manic Andheri roads when it is not fuming at traffic jams, trots with leisured ease down the winding paver-blocked Amboli roads. The sun seems softer, the shops seems sleepier, the air seems gentler. There's a playground where somebody has thoughtfully hosed down the grass-less field, so that the kids can play without the swirling dust choking them. There's a street-corner flower-shop, where a maxi-wearing young lady with flowers in her hair deftly weaves myriad garlands. There are gaggles of goats and sheep by the roadside - some leaping out to surprise the auto-driver, some chewing cud casually. And there are numerous wooden or concrete crosses with the legend I.N.R.I (Jesus of Nazareth, King - Rex - of Jews; in Hebrew script, I and J looks the same).

This benign spirit seems to guard and cosset lilting lulled-down Amboli from the heat and dust of Andheri - with its buzzy busy-ness and reckless skyscrapers and frantic shops. Amboli houses are small, dilapidated, sloping-roofed shanties, or four/five storeyed small-townish apartment blocks.

That place has a character of its own - a stubborn refusal to blend in with the rest of the faceless, multi-storeyed, swanky-malls-dirty-roads urban desertscape of the rest of Andheri.

It's anyone's guess how long this oasis will hold out. Deserts have a habit of taking over everything around it.

22 comments:

Ugich Konitari said...

There seems to be a pattern. I live in what could be called an Amboli ver 1.1. In another 12 months, my building is scheduled to be totally hemmed in by 2- 17 storey structures, all in the name if education and the nations development.

magiceye said...

aah amboli village.... one of the surviving gaothans...

Swaram said...

Ohh I so hope the oasis remains!

Arundhati said...

Liked your description of the pace of life, made me feel I was there, very relaxing :)

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Nona said...

It will be interesting to see how long this place will escape the eyes of real estate "developer"s!

Lazyani said...

Reminds me of the Bow Barracks of Kolkata. Sad, but I never did understand why growth should be at the cost of history.

Tomz said...

It must be a miracle, or a mystery ( a kind of)

lopamudra said...

" ...maxi-wearing young lady.." I can almost picture her and Amboli.The place will be long gone but you are there now to preserve the memory and taking us along in your journey too.

Kavi said...

I really hope Amboli and such other places survive. While the oasis have survived the deserts, tigers are losing out against the poachers.

Urban poachers galore !

Onkar said...

If there are deserts, it is all the more important to preserve the oases.

Tamanna Mishra said...

De-lurking. Exactly how I feel during brief patches of no traffic in the otherwise reasonable green Bangalore.

Nice post, this.

sujata said...

what a quaint place it seems to be! the name is familiar, but I have not been to that locality..thanks for the vivid trip

Amitabha Ghosh said...

Sucharita, Have you tried the bakery which is just before the church? Used to sell great puffs (reminding me of great Eastern patties!), pastries and savories.
Gr8 post as usual!

Pesto Sauce said...

I always find Mumbai to be a rush hour city. Good a locality like this exists

Sumandebray said...

would be a nice place to visit. But again Change is the key to survival!
The post is very well composed and comparable to a watercolor

Anil P said...

It has a definite character to it, much like say, a bit of Bandra to it.

Babli said...

Very nice and wonderful post. You have described very beautifully and I feel like visiting the place.

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Mina Jade said...

Small places do have their own atmosphere, hidden in a city!

The Weekend Blogger said...

Hi !!! Have been out of touch with the blog world, thanks for your wake up call. Good to see that you have still been going strong.

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