Sydney was a great, vibrant city at the turn of the century. After all, when the machines would built the Matrix, the pinnacle of our civilisation, they would choose Sydney as the setting. And for good reasons. The inner city suburbs got a facelift thanks to the Olympics. Outskirts were about to start a massive housing boom. There was a sense in the air that this sprawling conurbation was destined to become the New York or Calcutta of the 21st century. More broadly, there was sense that Australia was going become the next California, only better, sunnier — no one would ever write Hotel Australia.
But by the time I watched Dil Chahta Hai ten years ago, things had already started to change.
I had already left Sydney by then. Like most my friends, I was transitioning from university to a career. We had ambitions — to discover the truth, improve the public welfare, make money. We had confidence — in our abilities, in love, about the future. As the song went, হাম হ্যায় নয়ে, আন্দাজ কিউ হো পুরানা?
Change would have to come, we knew it all along. But changes that did come in the decade, they were not what we had dreamt of in the city depicted in the movie. Sydney may be on the other side of the world from New York, but 9/11 shook this city too. And not in a good way.