Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mumbai Murder Map

Mumbai, February 5, 2013

This morning, the newspaper had a frontpage report about the spectacular murder of a young woman whose husband plotted a highway attack so he could move in with his lover, whom he had recently married.  I'll spare you the gruesome details, but what interested me is that the account of the crime traced a veritable map of Mumbai's northern suburbs, particularly of Bandra, often referred to as "The Queen of the Suburbs".

Bandra is a district on the southwest of Salcette, the large island to the north of downtown Mumbai.  The crime took place in Bandra Reclamation, a trendy area along the Arabian Sea coast that a number of Bollywood stars call home.  The couple was driving north, coming out of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, the recently completed monumental piece of infrastructure that bypasses the traffic around Mahim Bay.  They lived in Ashiyana Society, a less affluent neighborhood, also in Bandra but farther inland to the east.  The two friends that the husband contracted for the murder came from Ahmed Zakaria Nagar, an area north of Bandra Reclamation.  The parents of the victim live in Behrampada, a Bandra slum nested between the highway and the train tracks--the the father is a "tuk-tuk" (auto rickshaw) driver.  The lover lives with her family in Sakinaka, farther north, to the east of the airport.  And the brother of the victim, who knew about the affair and warned his sister, lives with his grandparents in Mira Road, a poor suburb on the northwest of Salcette, where the island reaches the Vasai Creek.

Plot the points in a map and you will get a glimpse into one of the most densely populated islands in the world--with more than 15 million inhabitants in less than 250 square miles--that includes some of the most diverse people, from celebrity millionaires to slum dwellers.

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