This article is written by Chaitanya Suri (BA.LL.B. Class of 2021)
Mumbai is a city of rags and riches. It’s full of dreamers and hard-laborers, starlets and gangsters, stray dogs and exotic birds, artists and servants and fisherfolk and crorepatis (millionaires) and lots and lots of people. It has India’s most prolific film industry, some of Asia’s biggest slums (as well as the world’s most expensive home) and the largest tropical forest in an urban zone. Mumbai is India’s financial powerhouse, fashion epicentre and a pulse point of religious tension.
It’s even evolved its own language, Bambaiya Hindi, which is a mix of…everything. Doesn’t it all seem a cock up? It’s normal for a newbie in this city to get lost in the chaos. Specifically when a person (like me) comes from a city known for it’s nonchaotic organized life (Chandigarh). The one thing Mumbai doesn’t and probably won’t be able to offer for the foreseeable future is tranquil life to its residents. It’s always bustling with people hoping for a better future but don’t feel gutted, this city ain’t a damp squid.
I, for one, have happily adjusted to this whole enchilada this city has to offer. So much so that I miss this lifestyle when I’m back home. Mumbaikars have the perfect life balance. Yes, Mumbaikars work (a lot) but don’t let that fool you. They refuse to compromise on their recreational activities. Just hop into in any pub or visit a beach, places are full with people. Also, they are the friendliest people in the country, always there to help.
Although Mumbai is the front door to India, don’t let it be your introduction to India. This city is unique to itself, a shining star blinking on the map of India. Sure it has its fair share of traffic woes, the infamous monsoons (more on this later), never ending slums, polluted beaches (Juhu beach, anyone?), lack of open spaces but it passably sustains the 21 million people who call this city their home. The city offers relatively good infrastructure, uninterrupted power supply being on of them. The local trains are indeed the arteries of this city, transporting millions of people to and back from work everyday. They have had immense contribution towards the economic growth of the city, without it Mumbai couldn’t what it is today.
People find the food in Mumbai scrummy and rightly so. There is street food which is perfect to fill the stomachs of every person with content, specially the humongous student population of the city . There’s no shortage of lavish restaurants offering all kinds of delicacies.
Now to the weather. For most part of the year, you’ll remain wet either due to the sweat or due to the rains. The monsoons are particularly pitiless on this city. Some people hate the monsoon season, some fall in love with it. I’m part of the latter group. Also, unlike the brass monkey weather in my hometown, Mumbai’s weather is ace during the winter season. Pulling off a sweater is more of a fashion statement than using it for the purpose it is intended for. If you are not a winter person, I’m sure you’ll do cartwheels.
I intended to do a rant about Mumbai but it turns out I myself wasn’t aware of my love for this city. Such is the blinding effect of this city on it’s people. Everything is plausible in this city of dreamers and workaholics.