Thursday, 18 August 2011

Cities of the World

What would I not give to be able to draw caricatures of my selection of top world cities at this moment! Probably even if I gave everything it would be worthless as I cannot sketch to save my life! So I guess I have to make do with words, which at least at times, do walk my talk.

Before my expressions start painting the picture, let me set the reference points. In my depictions a man represents money and power while a woman denotes grace, elegance and warmth. Did I hear sexist? Not at all! Just paying homage to the majority traits of the two genders.

Let’s start at the very beginning, the very place that the seed of this idea was sowed; London – my city of bridges. The very wonderful and charming city that embraced me eight years ago when I walked in a nobody is now old and widowed. The aristocratic lady has a very demanding family. Her aura, character and personality remain; however, the depth of the wallet is waning. How she forms her will is being fought over, and this old gentle creature now needs care. Boris Johnson is definitely not the right grandson for the part but for the moment there is no choice. Let us hope that her youth returns and she is vibrant once more.

It is with sympathy that the young man and woman (a married couple), i.e. New York, look at this old lady. Together they not only have what London lacks in power and wealth but also the youth lends energy. Yes they will need more grey hair to get the character and aura that London has; but well why fret about tomorrow when today can be cherished! However, personally, I think I prefer the grandmotherly touch across the Atlantic than the frenzied life of the couple.

On the other side of the world from New York yet another fascinating story is unfolding. That of a middle aged man with maybe a dark side to him. Popularly the world calls him Hong Kong. He is a descendant of the widowed aristocrat, can be smooth and suave; but craving the life of the married couple, he is always in a hurry and lives on the edge. Yes he is interesting and remarkable but do not be deceived, be on a guard as he may take you by surprise anytime!

Taking this living on the edge to another level is the brash young man called Bombay. He believes that he has the world hooked to his talent and would like to rule the globe. His impatience and newly acquired additional disposable income is making life unruly. Sanity to his life comes from the calmness of his mother, a cousin of the old widowed aristocrat. The maturity of the mother and her affection holds back the young lad from shattering in times of adversities, helps him pick up and move on. A mentor is hard to come his way so his only hope to becoming stable is developing patience and employing rationality in conduct on his own.

Rationality comes very naturally to Bombay’s neighbors – the nouveau riche young couple with a very proper set up; Singapore. What can one say about them? Everything in their house is functional. There are no breakdowns and no eventful moments. Life runs with a soft rhythm that does not change its pace. Frankly, after a while it feels too suffocating. Maybe they need to borrow some of the vicarious ways of Hong Kong and Bombay?

Talking of vicarious, there is no one else with a more sensational life than the young European romantic lady with a line of suitors on the shores of the Seine. Paris is breathtaking, charming and her cultured panache entices most hearts that set sight on her. She can win all five senses in all seasons and is truly a diva.

The only chic male in Europe, matching this diva’s personality, is the relatively young King of Bavaria -Munich. Sadly, he lacks her perennial vivaciousness and can be a little too sophisticated to keep her interested. That in part is because somewhere the memory of his departed beloved wife lingers on. But when he decides to pursue, he can beat the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Once you know him, you grow to love him. He is still the strong, stable and trusting man standing tall.

An odd combination of sorts of Paris and Munich is far down in the southern hemisphere where a distant cousin of Paris lives. She has beauty but not all the sophistication. This young lady’s good looks have overawed a million suitors but her mild aggression and attitude has simultaneously tamed their interest. Not that she needs to worry, because she has her own young native South African fiancĂ©. He may not be the all powerful but he is as handsome as her and has a way of living his own life. Together they bring a unique splendor to the world and Cape Town is the perfect definition of a happy couple. The uniqueness of their relationship is difficult to replicate in this world; and I can safely say that it is for this reason that Cape Town is my favorite city.

There are many more cities to cover – Vienna, Delhi, DC etc. but the mere mention of my favorite has me mesmerized. The memories are too sweet to let go of and it seems like it is time to become nostalgic and reminisce my days in Cape Town. So I guess I will sign off here and maybe capture the other caricatures in another edition another time.