Monday, January 09, 2012

Manto on Bombay

From Saadat Hasan Manto :
"It was a blow to have to leave Bombay, where I had lived such a busy life. Bombay had taken me in, a wandering outcast thrown out by even his family. She had told me, “You can live happily here on two paise a day or on ten thousand rupees. Or if you want, you can be the saddest person in the world at either price. Here you can do whatever you want, and no one will think you’re strange. Here no one will tell you what to do. You will have to do every difficult thing on your own, and you will have to make every important decision by yourself. I don’t care if you live on the sidewalk or in a magnificent mansion, I don’t care if you stay or go. I’ll always be here.” I was disconsolate after leaving Bombay. My good friends were there. I had gotten married there. My first child was born there, as was my second. There I had gone from earning a couple rupees a day to thousands - hundreds of thousands - and there I had spent it all. I loved it, and I still do!"
It was like that for me too. I was a villager from a farming community who somehow developed an interest in pure mathematics. I found the university courses boring and stopped attending classes, was thrown out of college twice and out of home once and finally reached Bombay in 1964. The next fiteen years, I pursued my dream in Bombay helped by brahmin and American teachers.
'Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan'

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