Tuesday, December 29, 2009

From Dilli to Mumbai

I’m a Delhiite.
I’ve been told by some that I’m not at all like a Delhiite. (“You’re actually nice!” were the exact words)
But then again, some have said, that I’m the pakka spoilt South Delhi Chick. (of course, forgetting the fact that I no longer even live in South Delhi)
I’m not sure what a Delhiite is really supposed to be like. Spoilt, rude, dressed up?
Frankly, I don’t care. I love the city. How can one not? The amazing wide roads, the huge bungalows, spacious flats, the chilly winters, street food, Delhi University…I could go on and on. But that’s not why I’m writing this post. This post, surprising as it might be, is about Mumbai.
My summer internship was in Mumbai. This meant, that for the first time in my life, I was going to totally fend for myself, away from home, family, everyone, in a city I had barely even visited before. My salary, my headache to find a place to live, to figure out a way to eat, travel, everything. It was exciting, to say the least. And scary.
Weirdly, everyone expected me to hate Mumbai. Apparently being from Delhi, that is the expected code of behavior. After all, we’ve all been part of those endless futile discussions about which of the two cities is better. I was apprehensive, but definitely not in a mood to hate a city I may have to eventually spend my life in.
As it turned out, I didn’t hate Mumbai.
In fact, I loved it.
Fine, so I agree I did my share of cribbing (Why are the roads so narrow? I could get a huge house in Delhi for this much rent! The meter in the auto runs even when its stuck in a traffic jam! Damn…in this much time, I would’ve managed to cross the whole of Delhi!! I hate humidity! Oh god…I can only see heads in this local train… Wait, I wasn’t supposed to get off at this station, let me back on!!! And so on…). But then I think that much is expected.
But there were so many things I loved.
I loved meeting new people in office. I loved walking on the road and not having a zillion lewd comments thrown at me. I loved being able to wear whatever I wanted to, without feeling conscious. I loved the sea. I loved walking through cobbled streets like a tourist. I loved sitting in a local at midnight. I loved the city glowing alive in the dark.
I loved the life.
I loved Mumbai.
Perhaps, I loved it because I spent a cozy two months there. And perhaps if I were forced to travel in that local every day during peak hours, I wouldn’t remain such a fan of the city anymore. But none of that can change the two beautiful months I spent in Mumbai.
But now, sitting here at the laptop, I realized what truly makes me love Mumbai. It isn’t Marine Drive, the pav bhaji, or even the life. It was the people.
It was my friend, who welcomed me to his city and made me feel at home, when I was a complete stranger to the place. The friend who took me around everywhere, and tried to make me see the romantic side of the city. Needless to say he failed miserably at the latter. But I saw the city, and I loved it, simply because of him.
And it doesn’t stop there.
While my personal experience might have been great because of one person, I realized another reason why I hold that city in such high regard.
It’s Mumbaikars’ passion.
They love the city. Not just love, in fact, they’re crazy about it.
Filmy and romantic, some might call it, but they are. Amazingly so.
I think it was their obsession for their city which really drew me to it, which made me want to see it, and understand it.
I did.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

kills me from within...like a worm infesting my intestine.

shreya said...

Erm...ok...maybe if i know who you are, I'd understand why..

Siddhartha said...

Glad to read this. Don't know if i can take credit, but I'll take some anyway :) When are u coming to Bombay for good? got your PPO?

Nakul Sud said...

Did u just write my story is it???...
Sound like me and my internship period
Well written

Shreya said...

@ Nakul - Sounds like all our internships, and hopefully life now :) :) :)

The Comedian said...

The beauty about Mumbai lies within all the negatives. It's people are resilient. And they carry on despite everything thrown at them - crowded trains, insane rents, shoddy housing, stinking slums, riots, bomb blasts, and terrorist attacks. Like so many things in life, Bombay's beauty lies in its imperfections and of the average Mmumbaiker's acceptance of the same.

Shreya said...

@ Comedian - While that's beautifully put...I'm not really sure of that point. I feel most of India's cities go through a zillion issues, terrorist attacks included...just that Mumbaikars are more passionate and like their resilience pointed out. It's the way the city is marketed by the media...and tMumbaikars feel good believing it.

I know you're going to hate me for this comment. Mumbaikar, are you?