It had been years since she had slept, her sisters from the north and south told her stories of their dreams and slumbers, while she listened with envy. How she yearned for that peace, the silence. It was something she had hardly experienced. Pure and absolute silence.There on her shore, life was always noisy. People were always running, to the trains, to the offices, to the beaches, to the homes. The footsteps never stopped, and then there were the horns, those loud overbearing horns which made the hair on the back of her neck stand up.
Amid the chaos the water kissed her feet, she giggled as the sand seeped between her toes. Sand was better than people, she knew those grains would be back with the next wave. But the people?
People came to her with dreams and hopes, most wanted money, others wanted fame, some wanted to find their lives and once in a blue moon some would want to meet her. She didn’t know what to tell them about herself, instead she showed them the sights. The Victorian structures standing the test of time, the shops with loud shopkeepers selling things in her name, finally her beloved beaches where sounds dimmed and she could hear her thoughts again. She would show them the sands, the rocks all of them as old as she was, her only friends from decades past.
She enjoyed her guests, they told her stories of her family spread around. She thanked and showered them with all she could, the best of foods, the comfort of transport, and a soft bed. Her hospitality was well-known, often the guests would become permanent fixtures in her life. Soon, their tales added to the noise.
It was almost three in the morning, she was tired. But the people showed no signs of resting. Young boys screeching their bikes, how she hated that. The airplanes, why couldn’t they fly at normal times and let her sleep? Slowly she heard the music from dark corners dim.
Her ears were not used to this, the silence. It lasted only a few minutes, but every day it shocked her, took her by surprise. Perhaps now she could catch a wink, before the day would begin again. She smiled at the silence.
Shhh!! Let’s not make any noise. She is finally resting.
Over the years, people have given her different names. Call her what you may, but say it with me:
“Good Night Bombay!!”
published 11 May 2012