The Sea and Mumbai!
Rhythm and movement are fundamental to life. Rhythm pulsates through everything within the vast universe to an atom. It is a source of life, activity and creation. It is said that Shiva’s Tandava sets the rhythm of our cosmos. You can perceive the dance of Shiva in the movement of the sun, the moon, the stars and in the waves of the ocean.
Rhythmic movements can be witnessed within our beloved city as well. Each city has a rhythm. A city that is as large as Mumbai displays a rhythm as diverse as the ocean. It is active at all times of day and night. The city’s diverse population displays a unique rhythm in its variety of moods around the clock. It is this rhythm of life that drives us to do everything in our day-to-day routine.
Our periodic routine of travelling to and fro from home to work and back again has an urban rhythm that defines a typical city life of Mumbai. It follows a certain pattern that is a result of some predefined commitments, something similar to that of the tidal waves that are a result of the gravitational pull of the moon. People are mostly synchronised in their routines and tides of them flow in and out of the city centre at regular time intervals as per their work and personal life commitments. These individual rhythms interact, mingle, and adjust with each other to form the dynamic waves of the city that never sleeps.
Just as you can see Shiva’s dance raising the waves of the ocean, you can see the rhythm of Mumbai being set by the presence of the Lord himself. The city has many Shaivite temples and caves that literally span the length and breadth of the city and its suburbs.
Mumbai grew as a city because of the sea and the trade opportunities that it brought. This city that is popularly called as the ‘melting pot of cultures’ has absorbed within her many folds a lot of people; just like a drop in the ocean. And Mumbai as a city is largely reclaimed from the sea too. Its coastline, beaches, chowpatties and its famous Taj Mahal Hotel, the Gateway of India and the Marine Drive define it! The famous docks and ports and the native population of the Kolis (the fishermen folks) strengthen the maritime undercurrents of the financial and film capital of the country.
The sea and connected maritime activities is one of the most powerful rhythms of Mumbai. Trade, commerce and tourism enabled shaping and forming of the city and its suburbs, as we know today. These dominant rhythms of the city are like the wind patterns and we need to adjust our sails, and change and adapt our ways of life according to the rhythms that prevail.
Because the Nataraja is dancing eternally; the rhythm is set; the clock is ticking; the tide is swelling and we must set sails to move forward…
© Ashwini Nawathe, Kaleidoscope of My Life
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