We imbibed the news with a shocked stunned silence. Life in Mumbai was tough. We had heard of it often enough. But we had no choice. Living in Mumbai was mandatory with the new job posting. We came to Mumbai with trepidation in our hearts. We didn’t know what was in store and did not want to raise our hopes or expectations in any way.
Two years later we have all fallen head over heels in love with this twinkling smiling gutsy city called Mumbai. So what is so great about this city? Ask us. Ask us….we beg you…..we have moved to 9 different cities in around 3 decades and we can literally feel the difference!
Photo by Advait Supnekar
Mumbai Welcomes Everyone With Wide Open Arms
Nobody will give anyone a red carpet treatment here. But we will get a nod of acknowledgment, a raised hand, a hello or a quick warm smile within a couple of days of moving to Mumbai.
No one has the time for idle talk or for a gossip session here. No one has time here. Period!
But if we need any kind of help, anyone and everyone will drop whatever they are doing to help us out. And that includes low blood sugar related dizzy spells in an overcrowded stuffy sweaty smelly local train. People will even accompany us in the rickshaw to ensure that we reach our home safely.
Mumbai Is A city Of Convenience
All we need to do is to step out of our homes – look around – and ask for a few directions. Everything essential commodity that is imaginable is found at every street corner. Walk no further. Look no further. If we cannot find what we are looking for – it surely means we have missed that tiny shop tucked away in the loft of that dilapidated building.
Photo by zoxcleb
Mumbai Commute Is Hectic
Slow trains. Fast trains. Metros. The local trains are the lifeline of Mumbai and they are the fastest and cheapest means of transport. Yes, the daily commute in Mumbai can beat the living daylights out of all of us. People commute for as much as 3 hours on a daily basis to earn their bread and butter here. And they are able to earn their living only because of the local trains. The schedule might go askew every now and then but people become clock bound in Mumbai. Missing a single scheduled direct train means wasting half a day switching trains to reach our destination.
The entire family routine is based on the daily commute schedule of the working members. So let’s not arch our eyebrows when we hear the pressure cookers whistling away merrily at 4 a.m. and 11 p.m. Anything and everything are possible in Mumbai!
Mumbai Is A City That Never Goes To Sleep
People don’t break into a sweat if they are not able to unwind, chill or relax with friends and family during the day. They compensate for their hectic schedule by indulging in their fancies at night. It can be a long drive on Marine Drive or a quiet long walk around the colony or a double dose of our favorite kulfi………we just need to step out to fulfill our dreams.
Instead of dreaming while we sleep at night, we live can live our dreams without sleeping at night in Mumbai! Truly! J !
Mumbai Housing Can Make You Wonder
A house in Mumbai does not necessarily make a style statement. If we own even one room in Mumbai we can consider ourselves rich! J ! Buying a house in Mumbai is a luxury that only the super duper rich can dream of. Most people live in rented houses. The rents are as high as the skyscrapers here. So as many as 8 people comfortably, willingly and happily share a one room + one kitchen space.
We will learn minimalism here in Mumbai! And a few years later we will wonder why people build such fancy spacious houses in the first place! J! J!
Mumbai Is A City Of Opportunities
Despite the perennially high rent, people manage to earn enough and more than enough to make ends meet, send a tidy sum back home and save for that contingency. For a person who is willing to work hard, Mumbai promises you a decent income. Pan wala bhaiya to phool wali didi to tiffin wali aunty to bread wala chacha to press wale uncle…..everyone earns a decent income here!
Sometimes we will even wonder why we wasted so many of our precious growing up years chasing that double degree from that fancy college. All we need to do is to set up an enterprise, any small enterprise in Mumbai……..and we can assure ourselves of a healthy bank balance.
Mumbai Snacks On The Go!
No time for breakfast? Grab some poha or a plate of idlis just outside the station. Piping hot, pocket friendly and fresh these snacks are filling and will surely fill our day with a lot of promise. They are rustled up in a jiffy and are lip smacking too!
Dead beat after a long day at work? Home is an hour’s commute away? Tired? Hungry? Feel like a mini snack? Grab that cone of hot roasted moongfali or grab a hot luscious soft vada pav. Want to quench our thirst? Grab that mini bottle of fresh fruit juice!
Early morning or late night – we are sure to find something that satiates our hunger pangs outside every local station.
Mumbai is budget friendly:
Whether we have a lonely looking 20 rupee note or a sparklingly crisp shiny pink 2000 rupee note in our wallet……….we are sure to find something that fits our budget! And that something can literally be anythingJ!
Snacks, trinkets, second hand shoes, designer wear, value for money clothes etc. etc…..we are sure to find what we are looking for at a price that we can afford.
Rows and rows of shops will entice, enthral, educate and excite us. So much so that a simple shopping expedition holds the promise of turning us into seasoned shoppers and fashionistas!J!
Hmmmmm……….my spouse and I often go into this kind of semi sleep think mode where we simply allow our brains and hearts to relax for some time! J ! The pulse of the city is fast. The challenges are very real and very scary. And Mumbai may well beat all of us into shape. A city with this kind of a frenetic pace will make us question the frills and fancies of life that we unknowingly take for granted and mindlessly chase.
Mumbai is like that strict, prim and proper matron or grandmother that we all hated as children. She ruthlessly straight jacketed all of us but we respect her all the more for it in our adult lives. Mumbai will challenge us. It will test us. It will put us through a gruelling ordeal day after day and will give us only one measly Sunday to rest our weary bones. But it will also teach us integrity, empathy, punctuality, time management and a completely different take on life! That is why we all endearingly call it …….Amchi Mumbai!
Featured Photo by Vidur Malhotra