Interview with Mumbai City_DNA_Nikhil Jagtiani


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Interview with Mumbai City - 2007
A work of Fiction.

Assignment for a creative writing class - went on to get published in a leading Indian daily - DNA.

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Interview with Mumbai City_DNA_Nikhil Jagtiani

  1. 1. Mumbai, Friday, June 15. 2007 City gets candid, speaks her heart out f;t"r:1 ~ ...••••••.• ~ li'ral owe my minimum health problems, even Nikhil Jagtiani speaks to at this age to two things. A strict health Mumbai, a city with diet of salads and the exercise regime I have embarked on, thanks to the annual contrast and colour Mumbai Marathon. This year I clocked 4 hrs 20 minutes and completed the forty umbai is a city that lives on the km long run. Phew!!!. Tiring but satisfy- M edge. And this edge is redefined every moment by the collective action of Mumbaikars that impacts their ing and keeps me going. Q: There has been talk about your transformation to a world style, thoughts, behaviour and future ac· class city and efforts in that direc- tions. It is a city that is learning how to tion are already under way. How do cope up with a multitude of problems you feel? Will you be happy with that the administration fails to define 'the image makeover? dearty. With a constant pressure on it to A: Frankly, I wouldn't mind. It is become one of the world's most livable about time that I get an image cities it is struggling to keep pace with makeover. I wasn't asked if I liked being the aspirations of it's ever increasing rechristened Mumbai on a whim but this population. time I have a couple of points to make.' Q: Lately Hyderabad, Bangalore, Post my makeover, the government Noida and a few other cities are be- should ensure that vada pav (ordering ginning to catch the attention and one right away with a wave of her hand) fancy of the west. Is this diversion is freely and abundantly available in all of attention taking away attention localities. Secondly, aU winding roads from you? that are made to ease traffic should not A: Tobe perfectlyhonest,1would say encroach on people's privacy. I want it is taking away absolutely nothing, bar- Lata Mangeshkar to stay here. I can ring the population that I would have to barely afford to lose a luminary like her stretch haro to accommodate. Opportu- from my ranks. nities in other parts of the Q: Internationally, country are on the rise and this signals growth. Concentrated mumbai Mumbai is gaining a lot of acclaim. Mumbai resi· growth spells disaster and I am happy that these cities are as- speaks dent Shilpa Shetty's mous Big Brother win in fa- piring to share the same platform as UK, Latino sensation Shakira's mine. Competition is always good when concert at BKC, the high profile taken in the right spirit. I still possess the Brangelina visit, the constant glob- right set of people to keep me out of al media glare that comes with bounds of the competition! But I have these events, Are you comfortable never projected myself as an elitist city. I with the limelight? have lived humble and will continue to A: I never had doubts about my ca- do so and deliver whenever I am ex- pability to be a world class city and han- pected to. dle the arc lights. I haye lived being pap- Q: Health problems due to pollu- ular and it's a part of my existence. My tion and environmental degrada- close mate Delhi, feels the same and tion are on the rise. How are you would agree that I am a feYl notches coping with it? above it already. I have been badly treat- A: Like you guys say, Mumbai lives in ed. I am increasingly short of reasons to its slums. To lend credence to your ban- flaunt myself. Frequent lapses on the part ter, I must say that for years now I have of the administration and attitude change literally been living. there. It has been a of the citizen, forces me to cover up the tough time for me in severely unhygien- goof ups. It's all a part of celebritydom ic conditions, especially through the and the fickleness of the media teaches plagu~ scare and in the aftermath of the you important lessons that go a long way July 26 downpour, but I have survived. I in handling tile arc lights .