Yes, Mumbai is the name of the city. Yes, we still insist that Bombay is an emotion. Yes, Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra.
But is it, really?
We’ve put a couple of centuries between us and the founding of the city. So, just like all our peers, not a lot should have changed.
Rome got through a series of rulers, but still managed to keep its Italian alive.
New York and London witness an influx of millions of émigrés every year. Even so, the buzz of whatever the immigrants got with them is quickly drowned by the tidal wave that is English.
Then, why is Marathi dissipating from the very substance of the city?
Is it just too weak to stand up to Sindhi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Bengali, and Hindi? Or is it too accepting of all the others who invade her home?
It has let everyone believe that Every Maharashtrian Guy In The World punctuates every other sentence with Jai Maharashtra and Aai zavadya, and that the Marathi populace eats nothing but Kande pohe and Vada pav.
We’ve now reached the stage where the Maayboli is treated like a fungal infection. It’s allowed to flourish in patches, and frowned upon if and when it tries to spread.
Some enclaves of Bombay are still trying to keep the fire burning. Dadar, Thane, Girgaum, and also Dombivali still have a Marathi thing going on. Sustained populations of Marathis know their culture, and have learnt to respect it.
Many families of the middle class Marathidom still want nothing more than a moment of peace, and Zee Marathi.
Yet, we also have the next generation waiting eagerly for Mondays and Thursdays, when iisuperwomanii unleashes her next video on YouTube.
So, what now?
Maybe, now we wait. We wait for there to be Marathi AIBs, Marathi Honey Singhs, and Marathi Arnab Goswamis.
Hopefully, that will get tomorrow’s adults awake, and ready to smell the Sol Kadhi.
Meanwhile, I just hope that Central Railway continues playing Labhale Amhas Bhagya on Matunga station. I couldn’t have been happier.