Month: February 2014

Permits and Hockey Sticks

14 February – Unmapped

When I first moved to Mumbai, I stayed with a very nice couple in their very nice apartment on the fourth floor of a very nice building in a neighborhood called Parel. Leaving the building security gate (a common feature of these odd, self-contained vertical suburbs), I would walk onto a slender construction-bruised road lined by concrete slum redevelopment buildings, stalls selling street snacks to local college kids, and a bristle of ugly (i.e. fancy) new high rises like mine that had begun to transform this bastion of old working class Bombay into a residential extension of Lower Parel, the swanky business district just west across the train tracks. Just beside my gate, I would pass a heavy door marked with a swastika of marigolds and a limp fringe of betel leaf garlands that probably would have swayed prettily in the breeze were breezes ever to reach this dusty corner of the island city. Over the door, a large sign read: ‘Permit Room & Family Restaurant.’ (more…)