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BOMBAY MERI JAAN

(Bombay, my love)

Asia | Bombay

“Great city, terrible place” is how Charles Correa described Mumbai sometime in the eighties in a seminal essay, an idea that continues to capture the enduring dualities of urban life in this South Asian Eldorado. I’ve lived in former Bombay for most of my life, apart from the few years I spent in London as a student. I come from a family of migrant traders who arrived in Bombay in 1945 in search of its fabled streets of gold. My childhood was filled with rag-to-riches tales of other enterprising relatives who also migrated to Bombay, and my own family’s journey from a one-room, 50-square-meter tenement shared by 16 members of my father’s extended “joint” family to the three-bedroom apartment in the upper class neighborhood of Breach Candy where I was born. Bombay lived large on these stories of upward social mobility. The city was an...

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