Many writers, artists and photographers have chronicled this city in word and image –and ours is one more venture, or journey, in this direction. But no journey of true discovery ends for the traveller, for the end of one journey merely marks the beginning of the next one. In this sense, our journey is also not complete. We
realized that what one saw at noon must be seen again in starlight; that which was seen in summer reveals another aspect in the monsoon; sights and smells cherished in childhood vanish and are replaced with other sensations and a different understanding. One has to retraced one’s footsteps or place new ones alongside older paths as materiality and memories morph, implanting on each other, shaping the contours of our imagination and existence.

Some sensory perceptions accrete gradual to wash over earlier memories, slowly dimming earlier realities. At other times changes in the city occur with such suddenness that one doubts one.s earlier recollections: landmarks disappear and earlier realities shade into fantasy. In this way too does the solid city seem like a flowing river, revealing other depths in the light of experience. As the city becomes more crowded, one.s internal space seems to diminish –and this changes one’s interaction with the city in subtly ways. Over decades of living in Mumbai one finds time has imperceptibly become mutable … All this had to, in some way, be acknowledged in our journey through the city.

My collaborator, photographer Christopher Mark Taylor had photographed and exhibited in this city before he and I met one unusually sweltering afternoon in London to discuss the possibility of collaborating on this book. Earlier, Christopher’s meditative photographs seemed to be mainly about vestiges of colonial architecture.
In these, he found stillness amidst chaos and silences in the city’s clamour. As for myself, I grew up, worked and lived in this city that I now often visit. To me the city always throbbed with cultural encounters and opportunities; but it was also in a personal sense the keeper of solitude and secrets while the shifting sea outside my window suggested intimations of insubstantiality – that I am only passing through. However, even during our first meeting in was evident that we had common concerns: both Christopher and I seek the sempiternal amidst the ephemeral…



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