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So, Bombay is becoming Mumbai

So, Bombay is becoming Mumbai. Frankly, it makes no difference. They can change the name, they can change the government, they can change themselves, the city will remain the same.

A city of opportunities, where people from all parts of the country come with their dreams: refugees from Bangladesh looking for two rotis and a dal per day, studs from Punjab wanting to become film heroes, students from Nagpur, sari sellers from Benares, priests from Thanjavur, nurses from Kerala, Andhra liquor barons, Udipi restaurateurs, Sangli politicians, Madras film-makers, bhaiyas from U.P., babus from Bengal. A city where farmers and clerks become chief ministers, insurance agents become builders, and share-brokers industrialists.

Bombay, Mumbai, what's the difference! Trains will continue to run late, roads will be dug and resurfaced and re-dug, the summers will be warm, the winters not so cold, the monsoon will flood the streets as it has always done, never mind the cleaning of the drains, taxis will raise fares, the BEST will be unable to cope with the traffic and point out that Delhi is a lot worse, telephones will produce wrong numbers and inflated bills, more people will be born than die, and more people will come to the city than leave it, the year would be divided into marriage season, racing season, children's vacation season, NCPA season, new film releases season.

I Love Bombay, Amchi Mumbai, Green Bombay, Clean Mumbai, Bombay First, they will all remain, with slight changes in nomenclature, depending on who is the chief guest for the occasion. And Johnny Walker, way past mortal considerations, will continue to sing Yeh hai Bombay meri jaan during the old hit songs hour on various TV channels.

And, after all the politicians have come and gone, retired, dismissed, rejected in the elections, appointed governors, the permanent icons of the city, from Nana Chudasama to Madhu Mehta and Ashok Kumar to Dilip Saab will remain.

Bombay, Mumbai, take your pick among Kamat's idli dossas, Mysore bondas, Manglorean fish curry-rice, Sacru's mutton xacuti, Godiwalla's lagan-nu-custard, Purohit's Gujarati thali, Noor Mohamed's nalli nihari, Bedi's chicken saagwalla, Shiv Sena party's vada pau and Shiv Sena government's jhunka bhakar. I wish somebody would consider providing good Maharashtrian srikhand and puran poli.

The best thing about the city is that while governments and municipalities cannot improve it, they cannot spoil it also. The city lives on its own steam and the power generated by its own people. And, like any self-sufficient person, it is not worried about names and titles.

Still, if you want me to, I will say so: Goodbye Bombay, hello Mumbai.

Yogesh Pathak