The capital of Saudi Arabia is Riyadh; The capital city of Turkey is Ankara; Capital of…” Sir PM was on a roll, and in her predictably curious demeanor, Lady Flora interrupted her friend as soon as they reached their usual meeting place inside Horniman Circle Garden. “Firoz, please tell me that this The monologue is for some good creative reason, or you signed up for a quiz on capitals and cities, that would be plenty.”
Sir PM was not exactly thrilled to be interrupted in the middle of his smooth memory game to test his knowledge of countries and their capitals. “With this, Firuz… what is the reason for this sudden interest in capitals?” She couldn’t wait any longer. “Okay, my lady. I got caught up in the excitement that had engulfed the city these past few days with the G20 meetings. Didn’t you notice how decked up the city was to welcome them? So many Representatives of all the countries were here, and after seeing their national flags displayed on posters and banners, I felt obliged to be a part of it in my own way- to get at least some basic knowledge about these countries. Be part of a prestigious group with,” she shared patiently, hoping to impress her friend. “It’s all right. But Firoz, haven’t you seen anything else? How did the city go into transformation mode and, overnight, undergo a series of makeovers that gave it a different vibe that covered major landmarks and places in the city? I found that rather appalling,” thundered Lady Flora.
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“Why are you saying that, ma’am? I thought it was remarkable that the city turned out to be completely clean and vibrant to welcome these guests from different parts of the world,” inquired Sir PM, eager to hear what his insightful and sometimes wayward What do friends say? “Well, you see Feroze, Bombay is often referred to as the financial center of India; The gateway to India, and so on, but its streetscape stands in stark contrast to these heavy taglines. A walk down any of our main roads will reveal this truth. Until last week, large parts of the city and suburbs wore their generic, neglected avatar, and then as if under a spell, a miraculous transformation took place in so many prominent areas. Throughout the night, posters, banners and white cloths were put up along major highways and under flyovers to cover up the mess. masterstroke [to save face]I thought, was to use those eye sores – for the ultimate cover-up job – to make sure those unsuspecting delegates didn’t get to see those garbage dumps or tobacco-stained barricades along the subway line work , “said Lady Flora. Sir P.M.’s face looked as if he had seen a ghost; evidently, he felt that he had missed this great observation which his friend had slyly brought to his attention.
“Now that you mention it, you are very right. It all has a meaning. In South Bombay, the gargoyles were telling me how all the facades of important buildings take on a majestic appearance and light up at night ; Roads were cleaned. My cousin Shiraz, who lives in Bandra, tells me that he has never seen that new place…what is it called…ah, yes! Bandra Kurla Complex, footpaths and Get such a massive paint job done with a fresh coat of paint on the traffic signals,” said Sir PM, hoping his informative retort would help him save face.
Lady Flora was glad that her friend at least looked at things a little differently after her valid judgment. “I heard that some of the access roads to and from the airport were fixed overnight; Even the places near the national park have been revamped,” she said. “National park? Why there?” asked Sir PM? “That’s where you are not paying attention, not joining the dots, my dear Firoz. You see, the areas and routes that are in the line of sight of these international guests are the only beneficiaries of this massive whitewashing exercise. He had visited Green Lungs and hence the area got the green signal. Other than that, everything else is the original we’re used to seeing, where we don’t rub our eyes in disbelief. Sir PM was trying hard to hide his smile, “Indeed, I was not surprised that by the second day, Percy (his messenger pigeon friend) came back to me with the information that he had seen several areas of the area where Already Pan Tha returned to grace the white posters.
“Frankly, we will never learn. Either way the city will need a constant influx of international visitors where it is part of some global initiative because nostalgia has become ingrained in our DNA,” said Lady Flora in her important sign-off. Adding, “It’s not that our civic officials can’t beautify the city. A switch needs to be turned on in people’s heads. I fail to understand why we need a global meeting to act fast.” After all, it is our beloved city that will benefit in the long run.”
Mid-day Features Editor Fiona Fernandez loves the sights, sounds, smells and stones of the city… wherever the ink and inclination takes her. she tweets @bombayana
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