Mumbai Meri Jaan

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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.

33 COMMENTS

  1. I love Mumbai as a city, so much opportunity to express yourself, but still people are not as good as the city.
    billions of borrowed dollars from the world bank may make the city  a great place, awesome transport, policemen everywhere, lots of flyovers to make distances really short… but..

    the people dont give shit about another guy.. that is how bombs go undetected.. the people really need to change, is still find kolkata the most friendliest city in india, even the chaiwala will have time to explain you a 30km map..
    i have seen unclaimed bags which literally scared the shit out of me, but nobody cares in mumbai.. mumbai can be a place to work and party, not for remembering something from your childhood.

      • @Yogini as the argument goes.. it can be inferred that no matter where you spend your childhood, be it a slum or a hill station, mumbai won’t qualify as a suitable place for it. Oke? 😛

        • “The people don’t give a shit about another guy”,I hear something like this for the very first time.People talk about the spirit of Bombay,talk about how people help each other in times of need,and YOU go up and say “people don’t give a shit about another guy”,REALLY?
          You talk about “unclaimed bags”,how many times have you gone up and done something about the unclaimed bag?
          Donnie,I don’t know in which part of Bombay you live,but as much of Bombay I know,the people here are amazing,they will go out of their to help you,but they also know that they don’t have to interfere in certain parts of your life.
          “Mumbai can be a place to work and party”,you have not accepted the city still,have you?All that it has to offer,the people,the culture,how can you say something like,”mumbai can be a place to work and party, not for remembering something from your childhood.”Bombay has made my childhood worth remembering!
          Okay,I am sorry for getting so hyper over it,but I LOVE this place,and I LOVE the people.10 years in Bombay,and the awesomeness of this place still manages to amaze me 🙂

            • BTW i stay at grant road, i take the train to anywhere I go, i can speak marathi..
              given the 10 years you spent in Mumbai, I don’t have that much experience of Mumbai,

              (talking about railway:)
               but in the months I spent i came to know that people intentionally clog the entrance to a railway coach so that it remains empty inside..

              come to Kolkata and see how people organise railway crowds themselves, they will never clog the door however hot or crowded it gets inside..

              • OH NO.You did not say that.
                You go up and watch any random hindi movie that has Bombay scenes.What is the first thing they show?An overcrowded Bombay Local.People hang on to the little-est of space available!No train coach is empty inside and I say that after having spent 2 years of my college life travelling from Malad to Churchgate,EVERYDAY.

              • @Kriti there are trains every 3 mins at the peak hour, at least Mumbai can afford to run locals every 3 mins, it’s not about how much space is left inside, it’s how much the occupiers are willing to share.. let it be.. i would never prefer to travel in the ladies compartment however suitable it remains for you 😀
                anyway.. let’s drop the issue.. after Kolkata it’s definitely Mumbai for me, no point in arguing..

    • Well. Most Delhiites can’t place Mumbai on a map, can they? That’s perhaps the only stop before Madras and Bangalore in South India for them anyway.

      P.S: I’m no Mumbaikar. I’m Hyderabadi. And I’ve never been to Mumbai.

  2. I have a friend who shares your story. Literally father different jobs and stuff. and seriously initially she irked me to the core because ever sentence of hers had the SAME beginning – “But in Bombay” !! :p seriously. craving to visit the city has heightened 😛 

  3. @ Donnie: “billions of borrowed dollars from the world bank may make the city a great place” ?? Bombay (or Mumbai, if you will) contributes over 60% of the tax collections into Govt. Of India’s kitty! If it is World Bank funded infrastructure projects that you are referring to then those costs, with interest, will be fully recovered from, and paid up by, the Bombayites. As a budding lawyer you must first learn to get your facts right.

  4. I’m not from bombay but the the sentence “but in Bombay….” is bloody true because my nani’s from Bombay and literally her sentences start the same way. Guess Bombay has that effect on people :O

  5. “You can take a person out of Bombay but You can’t take d Bombay out of a person”..
    visisted Mumbai frequently while i ws living in Nasik n truly,it still lives inside me..smwhere i still hv a gr8 longing 2 go back 2 its fold..d ppl r so warm n helpful n jolly kind….
    Any one who hs visited it once wud surely want to go there again
    Missing Mumbai…:-(

  6. even i keep getting posted here and there!!
    live in mumbai…..feel it….have no pre-conceptions….

    u r bound to like it!! love it…

    ofcors..not d humidity in weather!!

    but it shows d rich-middle n poor india in one go!!
    d spirit is rialy felt in local trains…and on roads!!

  7. I don’t think anyone could describe Mumbai any better- this made my heart melt 🙂 I mean I’ve lived here only for 6 years, I’m not even a native and I still think its the bestest city ever <3

  8. I just HAVE to quote this from Shantaram : “The first thing I noticed about Bombay,on that first day, was the smell of the different air….I know now that it’s the sweet,sweating smell of hope, which is the opposite of hate; and its the sour stifled smell of greed, which is the opposite of love. It is the smell of gods, demons,empires and civilisations in resurrection and decay. It is the blue skin smell of the sea,.. and the blood metal smell of machines. It smells of heartbreak, and the struggle to live, and of the crucial failures and loves that produce our courage.” Mumbai, the city that never sleeps and yet the city of dreams 🙂

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