It started on 15th August 2010 when I joined Morgan Stanley after campus. I wasn’t very new to Mumbai. I had done my internships in IIT Bombay. So I was pretty much acquainted with the skills you need to travel in the local trains.
The first two things I noticed were the traffic and the rains. So much has already been said about the Mumbai rains. And yes, they stood true to their reputation.
Next in line was the cultural shock when we started going around seeing Mumbai. Rarely did we visit any of typical tourist destinations like Ajanta caves, Gateway of India et al. Our hangouts were places like Juhu Beach, Carter Road, Marine Drive, Lokhandwala and the numerous restaurants and pubs in Mumbai. I think you can spend a lifetime and a fortune if you want to cover all the hangout places in Mumbai. You wouldn’t want to go out to these places in the day, the traffic won’t let you reach there and it is too hot and humid to actually enjoy being out. After 9 is when the nightlife starts.
What was more shocking for me was amount of money people have/spend in Mumbai. All the expensive and imported cars, bikes, houses; ridiculously expensive brands actually selling their stuff makes you think that wealth is really distributed every unevenly in our country; it is certainly concentrated in some pockets. You would need to be earning ridiculous amounts of money to be able to afford a house in a decent locality. Sure you can get good and affordable food in Mumbai, but if you want to buy a house, settle down and have a decent standard of living you’d need to earn/inherit a fortune.
The city is full of surprises, specially for someone who has spent four years of his college life in Trichy. Ever thought people hanging out with their kids at the Swings and people showing off their expensive cars and bikes till 1-2 AM and awesome eateries ranging from cafe to yogurt to Mughlai cuisine in the same place? Carter road happens to be just the place! Ever imagined an eating joint with 99 varieties of Dosa? See it in Malad. Ever imagined auto-rickshaws actually charging according to the meter! I think the autos in Mumbai are the most economical amongst the tier 1 and 2 cities.
Ever imagined people in the most expensive of cars line up for kebabs from a street side eatery till 4 in the morning? Bade Miyan at Colaba is where you need to go. The place opens up at 7 PM. Ever imagined a class Sea bridge in India? Bandra-Worli Sea link is certainly class! Ever imagined a tiffin distribution company with an error margin of 1 in 1 Million running without any sophisticated IT system? We present to you The Dabbawalas. Ever Imagined a city were people celebrated almost all of the major festivals ,even the regional ones, with unfathomable fervor and joy? Be it Ganesh Chaturthi, Eid, Durga Puja, Navratri, Holi, Diwali, Pongal, Chirstmas? You name it, they celebrate it!
Ever thought of a local train network with a train in every 3 minutes? The local trains are the lifeline of Mumbai. Ever imagined an international airport and Asia’s biggest slum (nothing to be proud of) to be adjacent to each other? Dharavi happens to be the place. Ever imagined people lining up to half a kilometer just to eat pav bhaji at a particular joint? You’ve got to see Sardar Pav Bhaji! You can get anything to eat round the clock in this place! You just got to know the spots!
One of the many things I like about Mumbai is the police is pretty accommodation for the nightlife, but maintains pretty awesome security in the city. Sure there are some instances you’d hear about sometimes, but compared to other cities it is still much better. More on that later.
You have so much variety in life there. The overstuffed local trains and buses to the numerous and economic auto-rickshaws, biggest slums to the most
expensive hotels and houses, the awesome street food joints to the most happening discos and pubs, the soothing and happening sea sides to beautiful hill stations around the city, the friendly neighbourhood shops to the most happening malls, the financial industry to Bollywood; the list can go on.
I guess as with anyone who has spent substantial amount of time in Mumbai I too am in Love with the city, more so because of the awesome friends I have there. Even after moving to Bangalore, I love it when I get to travel there and hangout with the friends.