Bombaywatch ‘09/ The Great Wall Of Mumbai

[Excuse the date on the photos, need to reset the time a few hours ahead]

Aditya is Sanskrit for ‘The Sun God’, and I had to see what the fuss over ‘Chhatt Pooja’ is all about. Having had a rather merry time in South Bombay last evening, my routine of waking up before dawn went for a toss and I missed the grand festivities.

Flooded with messages urging me to go paint “The Great Wall Of Mumbai” on Tulsi Pipe Road (Mahim/Matunga/Dadar), I was infuriated at what the so-called intellectual section of the youth that can bring about a change shows enthusiasm for on days when beaches all over Bombay are destroyed by the god-fearing faithful.

I’m not going to write the hateful post I intended to, because the sight of Juhu Beach shook me up in such a way that I don’t feel strong enough to be pissed off. It’s not even something I feel like injecting humour into, so you can imagine how disheartening the experience was. Clicked a dozen odd pictures, of which four will do the talking here. They speak for the entire stretch, and represent every beach in the city I am madly in love with.

‘Ganpati Visarjan’, ‘Durga Puja’, and ‘Chhatt Pooja’ amongst other occasions…we Indians just love to throw shit in the sea in the name of religion. We’ll colour a BMC-donated wall, show concern for dying farmers elsewhere in the state of Maharashtra and protest against an upcoming statue off the city’s coastline but will do absolutely nothing as our side of the ocean is made to binge on what it is not meant to digest and purges out the garbage along with dead marine life. And then a bunch of concerned citizens will jump out of nowhere and pick some waste off the unappealing sand with slight help and a dash of glamour from some celebrities.

Festival after festival, year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation.

As of now, the only “great wall of Mumbai” is the invisible one Bombay is cowering behind.

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13 Responses to “Bombaywatch ‘09/ The Great Wall Of Mumbai”

  1. 1 Grungy_Bitch
    October 25, 2009 at 10:44

    “As of now, the only “great wall of Mumbai” is the invisible one Bombay is cowering behind.”

    You said it.


  2. 2 R
    October 25, 2009 at 12:29

    …and there is no one else who can say it like you, Mr Mehta. Perfect, as always.


  3. 3 Devdutt
    October 25, 2009 at 15:33

    I think there needs to be a seperate nation for atheists and unbelievers. Some rich fuck should start buying off micronations or something, and start handing out visas with certain prerequisites disbarring the stupid.


  4. October 25, 2009 at 19:02

    good write, well said…the pics are really gross…can’t believe we do this happily every year…

    hopefully people will read it and actually change… or make an effort…


  5. October 26, 2009 at 03:17

    This is for all the ‘brothers’ who tripped over things in their hurry to check how much foul language I’ve used for their beach-destroying pooja:

    Aa gaye hamaar blogwa tak? Aur bhi post hai tohaar vaaste, tanik dekhiye toh.

    And this is for the ‘others’ who have their own unique silly beach-destroying rituals:

    Oo ka hai na, ke hamaar moodva jo hai woh zara change ho gaya. Ab bakwaas bandh kijiye.

    And this is for everyone else who loves Bombay and thinks it kicks ass:

    Ee hai Bambai nagariya …tu dekh, babua!


  6. 6 Saurin Parikh
    October 26, 2009 at 03:19

    Makes me glad that I stopped calling Mumbai my home.


  7. 7 Roy
    October 26, 2009 at 08:50

    I remember Sunday afternoon brunches by the sea@ Juhu beach with my folks and family friends playing in the sand way back in ’88-’89. The beach was lot less populated and cleaner inspite of horse rides, pav bhaji stalls etc.

    2009 – As rightly cited by Varathora with the pictures and words – Now thats the plight of Juhu beach after all the cleanliness drives! I pass it every day twice and don’t even once feel like being a part of the sea of humans, mostly from the coveted community as mentioned in the post.That makes me wonder – is it just a defiled tourist attraction??

    Don’t even go looking for the state of affairs with the ‘silver beach’ of Versova where some ‘cleanliness’ drive is yet to kick off. Its worse.

    Humans defecate huge piles of waste, through them of other wise. but again here…

    Gajodhar bhaiyya, yeh Bombay hai – tumhara universal sarvajanik Shouchalay nahin.

    Thanks Varathora for this strong post.


  8. February 22, 2011 at 05:49

    Roy: “I remember Sunday afternoon brunches by the sea@ Juhu beach with my folks and family friends playing in the sand way back in ’88-’89. The beach was lot less populated and cleaner inspite of horse rides, pav bhaji stalls etc.”

    Me too!

    I have beautiful memories of Juhu Beach cause I used to live in Juhu many years ago. I remember going for a swim in what was cleaner water then. The deterioration of the beach had already begun by the time I was 6 or 7 (in the late ’80s) it continued through the ’90s until the sad state it is in today. Juhu used to be a beutiful little village up until the ’80s. Although development is essential for a growing city, it is to blame for the state of affairs today. Not only the beach, but also Juhu as a whole has been ruined by unchecked development.

    I don’t remember Juhu ever being flooded during the monsoon when I lived there 20-odd years ago. One of the main reasons there is flooding during the monsoons is because the khadis near Chandan cinema have all been filled up, the mangroves have been destroyed. These khadis (natural lagoons) were connected to the sea and would siphon out rain water. Filing up these lagoons have had their effect not only in the Chandan cinema area but also JVPD scheme as a whole and beyond until Vile Parle station.

    I think rather than having pointless drives such as paint “The Great Wall Of Mumbai”, something like “Clean up Juhu Beach” would be better appreciated and will attract more volunteers.


  9. March 7, 2011 at 09:10

    its great that you feel so much for the juhu beach, but we have to remember bombay/mumbai has more than one such natural resource that has been trashed over and over. its time you changed that feeling into some action and build some change! creating that change and sustaining it is far stronger than a cry of rage.


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