Why the hell anyone from Eastern Europe will dream of a city in India? Usually everybody here speaks about US, France, Germany, Spain (and I must admit Barcelona is my second runner-up), Italy, Canada, but never about the Asian part of the world (maybe as an odd curiosity, they would give a try to Japan, Singapore or Hong-Kong).
But for God's sake…India? And Mumbai? Where all the slums are? With dogs or without them... Where people wear all those funny clothes and do nothing else but watch TV in the streets, sing, eat spicy food, dance (via the Bollywood movies we used to watch as greatest hits in childhood, but now disregard them as being silly)? Brrr...
Come on, admit that these are the first images which come to your mind. But how many of us really try to understand or read more about a city that hosts approximately 19 million inhabitants (including the suburbs)? How many of us had a look at one of the most beautiful mosques in the world, Haji Ali? Oh, yeahh, now we probably know about the splendid Taj Mahal Palace or Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the incredible railway station, cause they had to be attacked by terrorists so that we could acknowledge their existence.
And of course we had to wait for Slumdog to get all the Oscars to turn our heads to the East and remember that Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra state and the financial core of India. And those more economy oriented maybe managed to have a glimpse of the oldest Stock Exchange in Asia when couple of weeks ago, right after elections, the Mumbai market sky-rocketed and made brokers all over the world turn yellow with envy.
I have never been there, but yes, I dream of Mumbai with all its ups and downs. I dream of the busy streets, the traffic, the old and new restaurants, the markets, the Chowpatty beach, and the noise, the mix of people buzzing and walking anonymously and maybe dreaming in their turn to live somewhere else. Why? Because it feels like home. And as I told someone few days ago, for Mumbai I would fight even with the dragons.