In all my years, I have yet to encounter a single banyan tree which has not provided shade to a pantheon of deities. Any neem tree worth its girth has sacred red thread wound under it. In the older parts of Bombay, every self respecting street has at least one life-size cross which have long since ceased to be memorials to a long buried citizen, and have now taken on the aspect of a place of religious worship. And there are all those tiny roadside shrines, which look deserted on most days, and suddenly come alive with candles and fresh flowers once a week. Even our walls are covered with pictures of religious symbols, but that is a whole different story.
A skeptic may wonder why despite having an abundance of shrines, Bombay is the only major city in the world that repeatedly witnesses terror attacks. A religious zealot may argue that that the ‘other’ gods and goddesses neutralize the good that their own God does. A person like me would like to believe that it is the hope and spirit of the people that keeps the city going – the same hope and spirit that drives them to put up the shrines in the first place.