There’s something about the cool breeze brushing your hair at Marine Drive, the maddening traffic at WEH, the insanely crowded Virar train or the simple yet absolutely delectable Vada pav. Yes, I’m talking about my love, Mumbai.
You get engulfed in the energy that this city radiates. The vibrancy of Mumbai is almost contagious. You tend to fall prey to the mysterious power this city possesses. It is almost impossible to settle down in any other city after you’ve lived here.
Each passing day, you learn a lesson. Good or bad – doesn’t matter. Right from the moment you step out of the house, there’s something always waiting to happen. It can be as petty as a group of dancers performing just to entertain others at Carter Road or something big like the news of a Coldplay concert. You may not realize the fact that it is impossible to move to another city until you do. The change is so smooth and gradual that you won’t even feel it.
Safety, which is a major concern in other cities comes naturally to Bombay. Most of the times, a girl can travel by train or cab at 12 am alone without anyone laying eyes on her. The cabbies see it as their responsibility to drop the girl at home safely. Or maybe the city doesn’t stop bustling until the wee hours of the night.
Every corner of the city has a characteristic that distinguishes it from the rest of the areas. South bombay is the hub of famous Irani cafes and the cool victorian architecture. Places like Colaba, Ballard Estate are so beautifully constructed that they leave you awestruck. Navi Mumbai is a little far from the hustle bustle of Mumbai. It is a good change to go there once in a while to restore your sanity. The hot and happening areas like Bandra, Juhu, Lokhandwala are the hubs to spot celebrities. You can spot atleast one (big or small) celeb when you’re there. Coming to the sea facing areas – Marine drive (my personal favorite), Worli sea face, Carter Road, Juhu Chowpatty, Girgaon Chowpatty.. all are similar and yet quite different in their own way.
You make friends in the most unpredictable settings. While traveling by local you come across the same faces on a daily basis and get to know them a little more each day. You may find yourself talking to a complete stranger at a coffee shop. Initially, you do get apprehensive about people. But eventually you realize there is no malicious intent behind it. The best part according to me is the fact that no one judges you on the basis of the brands you’re wearing or the phone you’re carrying. You will find affluent people shopping on the footpaths at Hill road or Linking road. It is quite possible for you to find the same faces at Taj Hotel in Colaba some other time.
Mumbai teaches you how to love. And not just the city. Couples sitting hand in hand at Bandstand teach you how to be fearless in love and not care about what others think.
“Mayanagri” as it is rightly called sometimes. Mayanagri means the enchanted land. The city teaches you to be and do whatever you want. Millions of people come to this city everyday dreaming and hoping to make it big in some way. Youngsters wanting to make their way in bollywood often idolize Bhai or Badshah. The madness outside their houses cannot be matched. Just a glance of their favorite superstars makes their visit to mumbai worth it.
You can be whoever you want – Artist, Singer, writer, bartender. Not only will they accept you as you are but also respect you for what you do.
Most importantly, you discover your own self in the process. For a person who has spent most of his life in a small city coming to mumbai is better than going to an MBA college or to a career counselor. Every single day teaches you how to manage your life efficiently. Seeing the struggles of a new mother carrying her baby on a crowded train or an old man driving a taxi only to make ends meet is something that makes you realize you are truly blessed to be in this city.
It may seem hostile in the beginning but slowly and gradually you get attached to this city.
And then, Bombay starts feeling like home.