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Musty Majestic Mumbai

I love getting lost in old Mumbai.

I was there for a short while today as I had a meeting near Bombay Hospital. Enough to get the heartbeat racing.

The art deco of the refurbished Metro cinema. The majestic crumbling facade of Crawford market. Parsi reading rooms. Irani Cafes ... Sassanian Boulangerie and Keyani. Punjab Hotel, Kashmir Hotel and New Bengal Lodge from a time when the Indian federation was being formed. Shops with quaint names and calligraphy from another age. All sitting like Miss Havisham waiting for her Prince Charming.

There is a sense of romance in the old city which the ruins, disrepair, dust and grime cannot hide. A beauty which makes you proud of belonging to this city.

Long standing plans to come on a Sunday with a camera are remembered. Fresh plans to come to Sassanian Boulangerie for kheema pao are made.

And then the cab ride back to spreadsheets, numbers, team motivation and client satisfaction.

I hope that the old city doesn't become the foundation for skyscrapers if and when India becomes a superpower. I hope that someone has the love and patience to nurture, restore and give life to the grand dame that we all so love.

We don't need to look far for inspiration. Look at how beautifully Istanbul has married the old and the new. And how they have restored Taksim Square to a harmony of modernity and heritage.

You mean to say that we can't do the same and better?

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