The romanticized version of Mumbai that folks read about in books such as Shantaram and Maximum City hides a bitter and terrible truth – that this city is the bastardized version of what it actually wanted to be. That somewhere along the way it lost the plot and we’re all paying the price now. With our time and our health. That its crumbling bridges and thoughtless infrastructure are adding, not to its reputation as maximum city, but its non-utilitarian and frustrating façade. That this city is not the cafes of Colaba and the bourgeois lanes of the suburbs, but the muck and the garbage that floats in its waterlogged streets during a moderate bout of rain. That its famed ‘soul’ is not the Queen’s Necklace at Marine Drive. That its ‘resilience’ is nothing more than a pair of tired legs following the herd on an FOB at a station, waiting in a queue to find a taxi, hoping to reach home on time. Only to repeat the same thing again the next day. And in my frustration, I can’t help but think about the young CA student who died in the stampede at Elphinstone Station in 2018. Life’s cheap and time is expensive in this city… And one day, we’ll all become a part of this pointlessness that is Mumbai.