Sunday, March 26, 2006

Mumbai...

I don't get it...I have now stayed in Mumbai for almost 3 months, 2 months during October and November and now for the last one month. Every person I have met here tells me that once somebody comes to Bombay they never leave the city. What does this city hold that seems to make thousands of people gravitate from different parts of the country to Bombay. It hits you, mauls you and then turns you into a zombie and yet people continue staying in this seething cauldron that is Bombay. I had gone to a Bengali friend's place and while having dinner her husband was telling me about how he came to Bombay after having worked with IBM in Calcutta and that he would not leave Bombay because 'once you get the taste of Bombay life" , you just can't leave this place- these were his exact words.

Yet I am perturbed more so by the vehemence with which people don't stop advocating Bombay to me. On my way to distribute wedding cards for my cousin's wedding, I travel across the Bombay suburbs. The housing is cramped, there is no sign of ventilation and the lighting is non-existent in some places. When I ask people as to what do they like about Bombay, a friend tells me that he loves the fast paced life. He says he gets extremely restless when he goes for a holiday and on one occasion on a holiday to Goa, he came back in 6 days as he got tired of not having to do anything. This city and its distances are a pain beyond endurance. The crowds, the heat and the dust...I am still struggling with it. Still trying to find my place here. Now what I would like to see is if the adage that I have been hearing with a never-ending regularity holds true for me too- Once you come to Bombay, you don't leave this city again.

18 Comments:

Blogger ps said...

I remember my father saying, 15 years ago when we first moved to Mumbai, that he cannot see himself in a place like this for very long. Every year, he made plans to relocate to Chennai or Bangalore but never did. I dont think he ever will.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Rama said...

i stayed in mumbai for over 10 years, school college and work, got married in this city too.....the first taste i had of life outside this city was when we had to relocate to chennai for work....travelled many places since...now in poona. I havent looked back...never want to go back.
everytime i do go back...some relatives are based in mumbai ...i watch the city get worse. new shiny malls and lots and lots of slums. people choosing to live in subhuman conditions for the few extra pennies they make
my two penny advice wud be to not turn into the materialistic zombie mumbai turns u into. get out while u have a chance

10:10 AM  
Blogger Saraansh said...

Again I don't want to say I don't intend to stay here for too long coz a lot of people have given me condescending lectures on how they said they same thing when they came to this city and they haven't left it since.

Lets see where we go from here :-)

2:37 PM  
Blogger Rabiya said...

Hey Saraansh..happen to stumble across this blog...my thoughts squares with the post...it was sure a great deal of agony to shift from Mumbai to Chennai...though no complaints now.. anyways, is Hexaware in New mumbai... sumwhere near Juinagar...?

by the by, wen in mumbai, don miss out on Railway station vada pav..they r yummy..

8:11 PM  
Blogger Saraansh said...

Hey Rabia
Hexaware is in New Bombay and for the last one month I have done the journey from Bombay to New Bombay which you know can be quite painful. But used to it now and yes I have eaten the vada pav a number of times and yup they are quiet a yummy diet supplement :-)

8:42 AM  
Blogger RefleXtion said...

Greetings fellow Blogger...Thought you had given up man...nice to know you're still going strong!! Greetings from Chennai....Yep I've been hit by this Mumbai advocation too... I decided to confront a guy and ask him (Boy I picked the wrong guy!) The fellow was worse than a Christian Missionary (Not that I have anything against them)…If he had more time he would have sold posters and 90 minute audio tapes of “Bombay Loves You, and you should love Bombay too”. The only other city I get that kinda reaction about is Bangalore.

6:16 PM  
Blogger RamantheB said...

I can so understand why people say that. Its the same here :-).

I happened to meet someone at the airport and he told me he had to leave new york because it got too expensive once he had family. But if you are young, are willing to live paycheque to pay cheque and enjoy the nightlife, i'm guessing bombay is the place to be. Ive been to bombay once.. for a day.

My room mate VArun keeps telling me booze in Mumbai costs more than one in New York. CAn you verify if that's true ?

9:04 PM  
Blogger Saraansh said...

Hey {+}
Its funny the intensity with which these people swear by their cities...

Rama
I don't think that is true, give me some more time and I will verify it further and let you know. Btw, I did not know booze had become one of your subjects of interest. Since when??

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chennai is the best city in India to live in.

9:29 AM  
Blogger sunshine_in_Mumbai said...

With all of Mumbai's problems, there is something about the city that is quite amazing! Just moved from Bangalore, and have lived before that in Chennai - all the cities have something - if its the beach in Chennai, its the greenery in Bangalore and the energy in Mumbai city!

4:12 AM  
Blogger Saraansh said...

Anonymous,
I agree.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Wild Reeds said...

Dear Saraansh,
As a lifelong resident of Bombay, let me say that for every person who takes to Bombay and makes it his home, there are also some who are repelled by its (as you rightly put it) zombieness and prefer a more peaceful, dignified existence.
For all the fast-paced-ness (which I must admit I am addicted to as well), it's a cruel city to be out in the streets in - just ask someone who has been a victim of a hit and run accident. But I don't know if that is the case in other Indian metros as well.
In any case excellent post, and welcome to Bombay!

9:44 PM  
Blogger Saraansh said...

Wild Reeds,
I always loved Bombay everytime I came here for a vacation for the simple reason that this was a city I could get lost in. However it seems like now that very same concept frightens me a little. But I am not giving up on it, I heard some more interesting statements lately about Bombay, here are a few-
#1 No person goes hungry in Bombay(is that really true??)
#2 Out of every 100 people who come here, 99 are success stories( my question is what kind of success and do those people really view it as success)
#3 (This one is my favourite!!) This is the city of magic(Yeh to jaadu ki nagari hain!!) -as if that is supposed to put an end to all discussions on this

12:04 PM  
Anonymous kmshankar said...

You wanna hear about the success stories - or - that Jaadu ki nagari :- here goes - I came to Bombay in 1994 - with only 150 rs. in my pocket. Struggled bit - thats a long story - but now; I work for a MNC company as DGM - have two houses - have car - settled; the final line is - here everyone gets the meal; that’s true.

3:46 AM  
Blogger Vedant said...

got onto your blog from Dilip's blog. personally, i can't stand mumbai. i lived in the city for four years, though not contiguous. for the first two years, i was in navy nagar and lived a charmed life. the next were in Chembur and i couldn't wait to leave. but truth be told, mumbai made me street-smart. personally, i prefer pune. it combines big city sophistication with a small town pace of life which i find most suitable to my temperament.
thanks for your thoughts...vedant

5:55 AM  
Blogger Saraansh said...

Shankar
I understand your views especially about the fact that you can just arrive here and make it sheer hard work and perseverance.

Vedant
I have got to agree with your assessment-this city does make you street smart.Personally I prefer Chennai because inspite of the heat, I know that the beach is just 10 minutes away on the bike and not a 2 hour 2 train-changing trip.

8:12 PM  
Blogger SHAN said...

Sara; if you can reach within 10 min to the beach; that beach will not be that interesting; wherein as you stated - it will take 2 hours and 2 train change finally you reach there and smell the breeze - here comes the price. You see - after all those struggles - 15 min in the bus – fight for the place in the train and travel for 1 hour - and another 15 min in the auto – and you get in to the house - and hugging your 2 years old kid and your beloved wife - where else you can find this. Are you getting my line?

4:58 AM  
Anonymous SloganMurugan said...

I guess it is the people. Mumbai rocks. I have lived here for 5 years. And unfortunately I 'm going back to my hometown, Bangalore, in a couple of weeks time. I leave this city with a very heavy heart.

6:57 AM  

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