A woman with the potential to make it big. It is not that she cannot: she simply will not.
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Ambition is fine, but...


The capital of Maharashtra, the greatest of all cities, the city that never sleeps, the city of vada paav, the city of Saki Naka traffic, the city of dividends and debentures, the city of glamour and glitz, the city of cricket.

But most importantly, the city of ambition. The A-word flows in the arteries and veins and capillaries of the metropolis that burns with the desire for more every time it breathes.

Had it had the time, the city would probably have welcome me in open arms. Unfortunately, it chose not to wait for me; instead, it rushed to catch Virar Local and grabbed a bread pakora with sookha chutney on its way.

In case you are not familiar with local trains in Mumbai, especially Virar Local
Photo courtesy: Google images
I was not fast enough to catch up. I will perhaps never be. But I lived on. I still do. Despite the rains. Despite the trains.

But this is not a story about Mumbai, or for that matter, Navi Mumbai. This is about an ambitious Navi Mumbai entity nipped in its bud. Let me start from the beginning.


Some time back I was back to the slow pace of Kolkata, which is not the city that never sleeps, not the city of vada paav, not the city of Saki Naka traffic, not the city of dividends and debentures, not the city of glamour and glitz, not the city of cricket.

Kolkata is the city that sleeps after lunch, the city of double-egg-double-chicken rolls, the city of lazy tram rides through Maidan, the city of Birendra Krishna Bhadra, the wannabe London that will never happen.

Mumbai has turned into super-Mumbai and will blossom into supreme Mumbai within a decade; or maybe before that. Kolkata does, and will continue to remain the city of stagnation or leisure, depending on the way you look at it.

I had left the buzz of Mumbai with two apples (which kept two doctors away) and approximately 250 grams each of bitter gourd and flat beans in the refrigerator. There was also half a kilo of chicken in the freezer. As for the potatoes and onions — about half a kilo of each — they were kept outside the machine.


I left behind the tranquil dreams of Kolkata to return to the electric reality of Mumbai after a week’s hiatus. I took out the two keys from my pocket and opened the two locks in succession (why do these Mumbai apartments have two doors?).

To my surprise I found everything in the apartment intact. Even the overpriced apples, which I consumed within ten minutes; then my eyes wandered across the top tier of the three-storeyed stand that hosts onions and potatoes.

Then I saw it. One onion, living up to the indomitable Mumbai spirit of burning ambition, had sprouted scallion. Check the picture below. 

The audacity!

 Obviously, I was in no mood of watching the scallion outgrow me. I may not be as competitive as a Mumbaikar, but I would certainly not accept defeat to an onion irrespective of its location.

I sued them and passed the verdict myself. The purple onion and the green scallion (ah, how beautifully they rhyme!) made their way to my alimentary canal.



  1. I am adding finiahing touches to a green corrugated sheet dinosaur costume right now and reading this. I need chocolate.
    I am also wonsering what a petite five-year-old dressed as a gigantic extinct repitile can say at the fancy dress competition.
    I was ambitious when I began this work of art. Now I think I should have dressed her as a butterfly with those pink wings we got her on her first birthday.

    1. Because I was painting scales on a dinosaur, reading about ambitious onions and craving chocolate at 1:00 am in the night.

  2. Ah never knew the potential of a small purple onion and its green scallion before I read this ! :D You are just awesome :)

  3. Ah, but the scallion gave you a chance to beat the inflation and make a couple hundred bucks (only if you could grow it! sigh), True to Mumbai ishtyle, Abhishek. You blew it.

    1. I did, Arin-da, I did, Just for the sake of gluttony.

  4. What, exactly, is your problem? :/

    You forget the sea while talking about Bombay. Unfair.

  5. Well, we all know the onions are usually ambitious guys with all that price rise and things like that. Yeah, I guess the city just makes them more ambitious.

    Also will you share a picture of your thumb when that nail completely vanishes. I love gross pictures. :|

    1. I had not thought of the fact. Yes, onions are indeed an ambitious creed.

  6. You ate a raw onion? Just like that? With the sprouted part? Ektu fried rice diye khele partish.

    And I agree with you - vast expanses of muddy water do not a sea make. Puri is the perfect sea.

    1. Nope. One was cooked with the other. And you're absolutely right when you talk of muddy water.

  7. A scallion FREE with an onion! I would have prepared chilli chicken right away 😋

  8. Since you had put parallels of Mumbai and Kolkata with an onion with a scallion, I would seek the opportunity to ask the profound question "Mumbai er kanda ki Bangali re kandaite pare?"

  9. ekta sprouted onion nie ekta golpo.....tumii paro, shikkhoniyo...