Twenty five years is a good age. Enough to change the look of a neighbourhood, enough to bring a young man or woman into settled adulthood, enough to see the passing of not one but two generations. Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock has kicked in with a vengeance and change is speeding up. For a newspaper like the Afternoon Despatch and Courier, 25 years is a lifetime.
Consider this. In 1985, when the late Behram Busybee Contractor came up with the name and was helped to start the paper by those who liked his columns, EVERYTHING that we now take for granted, was in the future. Computers, freely available gas and telephone connections, cell phones, malls and multiplexes, a liberal economy, soaring flyovers, ATMs, telephone banking, credit cards, career choices, burgeoning B schools, beauty queen titles, thousands of job opportunities in IT, Infosys, Wipro, an economy worth a couple of trillion dollars, foreign holidays, brands, Oscars for Indian films, online trading, a choice of educational systems, RTI, accountability, luxe living, apartments costing Rs 100 crores, India as flavour of the century.
To an extent, the ADC has been mapping it all. So when we were deciding on a theme for this special Anniversary issue, commemorating its past, we thought of an A to Z of the things that are important to Mumbai now because they were important earlier and have grown along with the people of Mumbai.
Why the alphabet? Because of the neat number – 25 for the past plus 1 for the next year. We have done this in the form of key words. Because of a paucity of space, we have chosen to highlight a few. Some merit a mention, others a para, still others a short article. But everything you see in this issue, we consider important to Mumbai, such an indelible part of this city that we all love, that, not to have it would change its identity in a small way. Everything’s connected. A little like the fluttering of a butterfly’s wing in the Amazon changing the weather in Chicago, or Mumbai. Twenty five years ago, a small paper was born in Mumbai, the product of a journalist’s passion for his own profession. It has been a momentous time, full of ups and plenty of downs. The story is not over yet. Great changes are in the offing. It’s on to the next 25.
Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy our offering. Happy Silver Anniversary.