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March 9th, 2005

4 th March 2005


Today I sat right opposite Pizzeria on the Nariman Point promenade. The marble signage right on the promenade calls this place ‘Kilachand Chowk’ I began to make a list of people who passed by. Here is the list:


·         1 fat jogger

·         1 tired and sweaty jogger

·         1 man wearing khadi kurta and denim jeans

·         1 ‘Nariman Point executive’ type

·         1 boy and 1 girl walking

·         2 lukhas

·         1 ………… common man

·         1 ………… common man

·         1 ………… common man

·         1 Arab man walking around and around with a girl wearing a scarf

·         1 foreigner

·         6 foreigners

·         1 girl

·         1 balding man with a girl

·         1 paunchy elderly man smiling

·         1 man looking ahead in the air and walking

·         1 woman with heena-dyed hair, perhaps in her middle ages, walking fast, fast

·         2 men walking at a distance from each other

·         1 white couple – the man is wearing a golf cap

·         1 girl – jogging, sweating, with a walkman, earphones plugged in her ears, perhaps listening to music

·         1 man, walking with two women and explaining something to them

·         1 man, with a bright red bag, walking

·         1 hawker, walking with a basket which he is wearing from around his neck, selling Bombay’s favorite pastime i.e. chana zor garam

·         1 man with a fat cloth band tied around his stomach sitting next to me. He is wearing jogging shoes and has perhaps come to sit down for relaxation. Maybe he is jogging for health and long life

·         1 Sardarji, walking in Sher-e-Punjab style, looking at me sharply and walking

·         1 dark skinned man, wearing white pyjamas (Maharshtrian style) looking around and walking

·         1 funky young man (image of yuppie), wearing an elbow band. T-Shirt and three-quarter jogging tracks, sweating and walking casually and loosely around

·         2 men and a girl – one of the men and the girl are dressed in ethnic outfits. The other man is talking on his mobile phone passing instructions to someone on the other end of the phone of where they are (which the other man is giving to him)

·         1 security police guard

·         1 bearded man with a Muslim Namaazi cap

·         1 young man walking around here and there

·         1 man, tired and jaded, carrying a black bag and a roll of paper in his hands. He comes from across the road and sits down on the promenade wall

·         1 couple, dressed in ethnic garment, smiling. The man is saying something to woman who is holding a jute tiffin bag in her hand

·         1 Oriental girl wearing a bag on her back, walking, looking down on the ground

·         1 girl with a Pepsi bottle in her hand and a black ladies purse, walking coolly and talking on her cell phone

·         4 young boys, rural-looking, walking together

·         4 people crossing the road from across. All 4 came to the promenade and then dispersed

·         1 hunched back man, looking to the ground and walking

·         1 elderly man, mumbling something to himself, holding a folded bag in his hand and walking with a limp

·         3 young men coming from office, walking on the fringes, waiting to cross the road

·         1 elderly man, looking towards the buildings and walking

·         1 elderly woman, looking to the sea and then towards the road and walking

·         2 Tops Security Guards

·         1 stylish girl walking with a young man

·         1 man, bearded slightly, walking slowly, trying to count coins and put them in his purse as he walks

·         1 old man, dressed in white clothes and white jogging shoes, walking from the edges of the promenade towards the wall

·         1 simple man, walking with a heavy briefcase

·         2 young girls walking

·         2 young boys walking big dogs. Both are walking together

·         1 boy walking a big dog

·         1 old man, wearing a sweater and big glasses, walking slowly and cautiously

·         2 men with plastic bags in hand, talking and walking and one looks at the sea from the edge


I saw lots and lots more people and some of the people listed above crossed over my sight twice and I recognized them. As I was making the list, I wondered whether I was indulging in marking people, just in order to describe them in words? How did I mark people by way of ‘common man’, ‘simple man’, ‘as a lukha or vagrant’, ‘hawker’, etc?


Finally, as I was about to depart, a Gujrati speaking, early 30s aged man came by my side, talking on his mobile phone. He was speaking to the other person on the phone about some visa to Italy and how he had helped him in sorting out the problem. From the conversation, I tried to deduce that this man is a travel agent or at least runs a travel agency. He was accompanied by an Oriental girl who was most probably a Nepali. The two came and sat very close to me. I wanted to move away because I felt that my space was being violated by the two who may want to get cosy after a while. I felt uncomfortable. But I decided to stick to my place and not shift. The discomfort stuck there for a while until I became immersed in the conversation that the two were having. The man switched to speaking Hindi with the Oriental girl who also had a fair command over Hindi. He put his arms around her and both began to smoke cigarettes. They bought some coffee from a hawker and began to drink it. The girl asked, “Is this city called Mumbai or Bombay?” He answered, with a sense of authority and command over local history, “Bombay was a British name. Now it is called Mumbai. But outsiders continue to call it Bombay.” Gradually, their conversation became inaudible to me except that the man began to talk to her about his first wedding. The relationship between them appeared to me like an extra-marital affair. But I could just be making judgments for all I know.


My questions for today therefore:

  1. Marking seems help make sense in the city but doesn’t marking only help us to make sense of surfaces?
  2. Is a public space an anonymous space?
  3. How do publics get involved in a public space?
  4. Looking at the way people were walking on Nariman Point today, I am wondering how people understand and negotiate spatiality as they walk on the promenade?



  1. March 10th, 2005 at 00:03 | #1

    great work done….. 🙂