This article has been submitted by Suktika Banerjee for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think this article is a good read, ‘Like’ this article on Facebook (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘comments’ section below.
Three metropolitan cities in these 19 (almost 20) years I’ve lived on this planet. 19 years of being dragged from city to city, school to school because my Dad changed jobs and/or got transferred. Born in Calcutta, moved to Delhi, moved to Bombay and here I am, back in Delhi again. I have class photos from almost every school I’ve ever attended up on my wall-board. So, I’m now going to make a statement that would be considered by some as blasphemy but here goes, ‘Out of these cities, Bombay is the best city to live in’. Yes, you guessed it; this is an honest to god, all out article on the awesomeness of Bombay-The City that Never Sleeps.
I was watching this video on you tube, ‘Shit people say In Bombay’, and did it bring back memories. So, you could say, this is some sort of nostalgic, walk down memory lane kind of article. Let’s start with the biggest deal-maker, THE SEA. IT HAS A SEA. Okay, that doesn’t do it for you? Fine, then there’s also the immense amount of shopping you can do at Colaba, Hill Road, Linking Road. You say Delhi has better street shopping. Fine, how about the fact that a girl can walk SAFELY at 1am in the night (Not alone, let’s not push it) unlike Delhi where the more likely situation is that she’ll get raped? I say this, because I’ve done it. Taken a cab to marine drive with two other girlfriends. Ever seen that in any other big city? I might be slightly biased. But the autos run on METER. So, you don’t need to haggle with the auto drivers about the price.
You say the traffic is crazy, the roads are bad, the real estate prices are sky rocketing, the houses are too small, there is too much pollution. The traffic is crazy, take the local trains. Yes, they are jam-packed at rush hour, but as one of my friends put it, ‘If you can survive a local train at rush hour, you can survive anywhere.’ The roads are bad, refer to point one. The real estate prices are sky-rocketing not only in Bombay, but all over India, I have heard my mother crib tons of times about the prices, but you ask her where’d she want to go and live, she’ll say, ’Bombay’ without even thinking. The houses are too small, seriously? You and whose army plans on occupying a mansion in Bombay? And finally, POLLUTION? SERIOUSLY? I’m not even going to respond to that.
3 years away from Bombay, and you ask me now, and I’d want to go back to Bombay in a heartbeat. The city grows on you, the pollution, the slums, the bad roads all grow on you. It will irritate you, all of these things when you first move there, but then slowly, all other cities will start to pale in comparison, your sentences will start like this, ‘But in Bombay,….’, It’s our financial city, one of the more expensive cities to live in, but somehow, and I cannot express it sufficiently in words, there is No Place Like Bombay. It’s Home and will always be.
You can take a person out of Bombay, but you cannot take the Bombay out of a person. Maybe that’s the reason; I make a trip to Bombay, every year, to catch up with the friends, to take in the sights, sounds and smells that are uniquely Bombay. That horrible smell of dry fish when you take the turn to go to Carter Road, the yummy taste of the Birdy’s Chocolate Éclairs, weeping a little inside when 26/11 happened, seeing people come together to hand out food to all the people on the road, the day after 26/7, taking you three hours to get from Powai to town, all because you wanted to eat at Leopold, secretly wondering what sort of diseases you’re picking up while walking barefoot at Juhu Beach, that look of shock, when you see the woman who owns the parlour you go to, come on television in an advertisement, having friends who are rich enough to have 5 cars, but still prefer public transport, because it’s easier.
The city will make you fall in love with it. And this is one love, which you will never want to get over.
Bombay, Mumbai, The City of Dreams, Maximum City, Financial Capital, call it whatever you want, you will fall in love with it. I did.