Monday, 3 May, 2010

It is... Amchi Mumbai!

I’ve finally got the opportunity to have a closer look at Mumbai.. The town area of it... And I’m loving it! The grand Brit architectures housing several banks, corporate headquarters and government departments, the numerous food-joints (from road side stalls to five-stars), the no nonsense taxi-wallahs and the busy looking, brisk walking janata in formal wear… This place does look like the financial capital of India. It’s in the air, as they say.


I am also travelling by the local train daily from Vashi to CST. Something I haven’t done before, unlike thousands of Mumbaikars. I think, I have moved on from the beginner to the intermediate level, learning the rules and strategies of travelling by trains in Mumbai. Here are some free tips!

  • If you ever get three wishes from the almighty or find an Alladin’s chirag somewhere, make sure you ask for a window seat. Believe me, this is one thing you just can’t get… For everything else, there’s master card!

  • Be alert, attentive and maintain lane discipline at all times in the train! If you don’t do that, you might either land on the wrong station or miss the right station even before you realize. 

  • Train is probably the best place to meditate. Because there are not many other things, you can do.

  • If you feel like doing something good for the world, just shout loudly “andar chalooo” along with the crowd that pours in at every station. 

  • The Train is among the best hangout places in Mumbai. Just that you need to be qualified at the expert level to hang out of a local train. 

  • You need just three words to kickoff a skirmish in a Mumbai local – “Dhakka mat maro.”

Mumbai is one city which has seen more disasters and pain than any other city in the world. Many of those have been of such high magnitude that could tear apart and destroy a city completely. The blasts, the riots, the floods, the regional politics, and the never ending terrorist attacks. But, it’s incredible to witness how quickly Mumbai gets back to its feet every time and eventually emerges being stronger than before! I think mak doesn’t make it possible; it’s the beautiful people of Mumbai, the mumbaikars who do!

There’s no doubt that the series of tragedies have changed Mumbai, over the years. Vehicles are not allowed on the dalal street. Entry inside the gateway of India is prohibited. You’ll often see a policeman standing by a gunpoint at the CST. But there are some things that have not changed… and for good!
  • Mumbai is still, the only real cosmopolitan city in the country. You’ll find people from all states, regions, religions and castes mingle with each other like long lost friends. You can easily make friends with a complete stranger and discuss philosophy over a train ride. It’s in Mumbai that you truly get the opportunity to identify, understand and appreciate different cultures, customs, festivals, languages, cuisines and more! Its this variety (or unity in diversity... blah blah) that makes mumbai so different, colourful, vibrant and energetic!
  • The nightlife is thankfully still upbeat and unaffected. Mumbai never sleeps! Indeed, it’s a place where “raat ke bara baje, din nikalta hai”.
  • I think women in Mumbai are much more independent and confident as compared to other cities of India.

Of course, there are always two sides of a coin… and maybe I don’t like to talk about the other side. But I have always loved Mumbai for the above reasons and for what it is. I have found myself happier whenever I am at home and for me, Mumbai is among the best places in the world!

(Pics courtesy of Chaitanya)

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