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Life Under The Bridge

Editor's note: Partho P. Chakrabartty talks about his group's Zenny idea


While Ankit's explorations were outward, seeking to place himself in an exciting, alien and extreme environment to see how it was different, our journey turned its Zen gaze inwards, taking another long look at what was familiar to us to discover things we had never noticed before. For our exploration, we chose an estuary: the space immediately outside Dadar station, the busiest station in Mumbai, and a short hop away from the Siddhivinayak temple – the space under a busy overbridge.


Just as taking a long, exploratory look at yourself in the mirror can reveal things about you that make you a stranger to yourself, so too the (skinny?) dips we made into the estuary revealed half-recognizable figures who piqued our interest. The space under the bridge is periodically inundated by crowds getting off the arriving trains, and those sea-rocks or buoys that withstand this flood, the permanent citizens of the Republic Under the Bridge, captivated us most. We met the Spartan policeman with a pot belly and few words, the runaway convert to Catholicism with Jesus in his heart and FM channels in his ears, and the BMC sweeper who had managed to survive the construction of the whole overbridge a decade and a half ago. We met the vegetable vendors and rag pickers, dignified women and girls who could kill their men with a word and who adorned their own lives as best they could.


Now, between Pallavi's jugular, Harshad's brain and my large intestine, we are trying to create an organic form that can best reveal the catchy insights of three different perspectives drawn from the space under the bridge. Over all these natal thrashings are the hands of our two Gods and Prophets, our Maai-Baaps and our midwives, Neha and Parmesh. We are hoping their catalytic effect can bring into being the explosive exothermic reaction required. Until then – coming to bookstores near you – title undecided – publisher not found yet – but something worth your time, and Life Unlimited's money, for sure.