Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The City of Mumbai That Is

When I lived in Mumbai, I used to go home to Baroda almost every fortnight. I used to meet with my friends during the Saturday and Sunday I got and then Sunday night or early Monday morning, I would head back for Mumbai. You know you have entered Mumbai the minute Mira Road station arrived. It’s a different feel altogether. The urgency people have in their steps, the pushing around to rush in the train that arrives every three minutes and the noise – all this and much more tell you that Mumbai has arrived. Whether you are alighting at Borivli, Andheri, Dadar or Mumbai Central station, the situation or rather the chaos is the same. The coolies are jostling to get inside at the same time passengers want to alight and walk towards the exit.
It is chaotic, it is dirty, people do push and you realize how people smell and have a sticky skin, but I still love the city, almost three years after I left it to come to the United States. I became a part of the spirit of Mumbai while I was there and it still lives within me. Mumbai’s made me a more confident, out-spoken person. I learnt one of the most important characteristics inherent to the city – to be street-smart and bindaas. How I love the cool air passing through my hair as I stand next to the compartment door of local trains and the enthusiasm with which the road-side keepers sell their wares – be it fresh vegetables or fruits, or daily home-related things like clothes line, soap bars or even lingerie for that matter.
This is only the beginning of how it feels when you enter this gigantic city. Yet you feel that you are a part of it. Although I have never grown up in Mumbai, I still feel that way. Here’s to the city and the indomitable spirit of it!

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