The Big M of Mumbai

The Big M of Mumbai

Swalpa Connect Maadi

In the sixties, a child was born in the west coast of India with a rare condition. As a toddler, he appeared normal with his ‘Goo Gahs’, until he started calling ‘Baba’, ‘Mama’. Most kids do get confused about genders, so they let it pass. But when he started saying, ‘moys’ instead of boys and books, ‘mooks’, they suspected a nasal congestion. No amount of home-grown therapy could get him to say the B. “Like this Beta”, mother would say, “say ‘B B B’ with your lips clamped close.” But it was no use. Every time, he confronted the letter B, something within him revolted...It came out as M.

Investigations revealed a phantom cleft palate, like a phantom limb, and a genetic form of ‘Alphabetohobia’. Cleft palate was born wanting to vanquish the B-word like Don Quixote was born to vanquish windmills. So Cleft Palate’s brother became ‘Mrother’. Uncle Bal became Uncle Maal (Which was quite alright since the said uncle had stashed away a lot of ‘maal’ in his rabble-rousing days.) The trouble began when Cleft Palate joined politics and decided to hack the ‘Mumbaification’ non-issue to fame and fortune. People went in fear of their tongue slipping up and saying Bombay when they should be saying Mumbai.They even let the chorus of Mumbai for ‘Marathi Manoos’ pass, simply because they knew, that everyone knew, that even Cleft Palate knew, that Mumbai without its Gujus, Parsis and Biharis, Goans and Mangloreans would have stayed a fishing village.

For a long time, the whole city was like a new bride whose name is changed when she gets married. So everytime, some in-law calls her new name, she looks over her shoulder in bewilderment and says ‘Who?’

Seeing that most people didn’t care enough to vote for his M obsession, Cleft Palate grew more ambitious. He wanted to change all things B to M. So every Sandra from Bandra now shudders anticipating the decree to change to Mandra.

Borivli is mortified of becoming Morivli with its insinuation of gutters. And Bhayandar is in grave danger of becoming Mayandar — which may just be the warning for ‘wannabe’ terrorists who will be forced to say ‘mai ander’. Buses should now be called ‘Muses’. Everyone is going around practising to use a lot of ‘Mmms’ like the city is in for a massive nasal congestion.
But to come back to our B-challenged hero who wants to ride into history on an aging mare called ‘Mumbaification’, he now wants Amitabh Bachchan to change his name to Amitam Machchan and Big B to Big M.

On second thoughts, the Big M should be reserved for Cleftie. But nothing will make him happier than to change Bollywood to Mollywood. With that in mind, he peruses every film shot by shot, to spot if some character is saying the B word. It’s rewind and watch, rewind and watch, all day, till he yells ‘Stop!’ That ‘Mloody’ Mastard...yes there he is. What does he mean my saying that word? Call the director here and make him grovel before he redums the whole film.”

It’s another matter that the ‘mloody mastard’ thinks he is being referred to as a  particularly spicy salami sandwich. But apologise he must. Or Cleft Palate will ban…err man…the movie in Mumbai. And that will promptly make it a super hit in the rest of India.