Sunday, October 30, 2011

10 things I love about MUMBAI....

1.       It’s a Metro – I have always wanted to live in a metro. The thrill, the speed, the rush... I just love it. Even on early mornings everyone seems to be in a rush. Living in a metro has its long list of flaws, agreed! The high cost of living, the loneliness, the crowded crowds, the dust and pollution..The list is endless! But on the other side, I also feel that living in a metro teaches you a lot many things. Managing your finances for starters! Being patient (ever been stuck in a traffic jam here?!). And ofcourse being super speedy (ever heard of catching a Mumbai local at a leisurely pace?!). Life in a metro is difficult and challenging but at the same time it’s an adventure of its own kind! Mumbai is no different and I love it exactly for that.

2.       The Rains – If you have never been to Mumbai in the rainy season, you are definitely missing something very good in life. There is something in the air of Mumbai during the rains. Something that makes you want to fall in love (if you aren’t already). The weather, the breeze, and the skies everything is just so astonishingly beautiful. The unexpected behavior of rains, the colourful umbrella’s, the glassy shoes , the knee-length capris, all combine together to give a flavour to the whole rainy season. I just love the feel of light drizzle falling on your face, late into the night, when you have your eyes! I am already missing the rains!

The rains in Mumbai cause a lot of havoc every year. From floods to traffic jams and stopping of trains to unavailability of rickshawala’s. This year was my first experience of the Mumbai rains and it had me falling in love with Mumbai!! I have to say that Mumbai looks cleaner (dust and pollution wise) and somehow greener during the rains. Here am I eagerly waiting for the next raining season.

3.       Street Shopping – I absolutely adore the street shopping culture of Mumbai. The Elco market and linking road in Bandra,  the Fashion Street of CST are a blessing for any shopaholic across the world. The myriad of little shops lined neatly across the roads displaying all sorts of colourful things make every heart (mine at least) jump with joy. Not only these famous outlets, I have shopped at various other little shops across Mumbai, especially in the markets nearer to the stations. Sometimes if you are lucky, you may spot some great things at unbelievable prices. Eg this fake Louis Vuitton clutch that I got from Bandra or a great neckpiece (with earrings) at an unbelievable price of Rs. 60!

Looks good, right?

     4  The Festivals –  I have had the pleasure of witnessing many important festival celebrations here in Mumbai. One of them being the Ganpati, needless to say, it was an awesome experience. The small pandals, the dance, the puja, the excitement and finally the visarjan. It’s all an experience worth living. The navratra’s here are celebrated with an equal amount of zeal and vigour. The dandiya and garba nights on every street are hard to miss and ignore. Girls in bright and beautiful chaniya choli are equally hard to miss! I also loved how people here follow colour codes for all the nine days of Navratri. Such a beautiful display of unity! If the colour of the day is blue, you will spot everyone wearing blue! The preparations of Diwali too were on full swing when I left for Jammu to celebrate Diwali. I love those brightly colored paper/cane/cloth lampshades that they sell during this season.

5.      Local trains – Really it’s a sight/experience of its own. I say everyone in the world should travel by the local trains of Mumbai at least once in the peak hours. It’s a life changing experience, has been for me. I have become faster, I can feel it in the spring of my steps or the time when I cross the roads (I was {still am to some some extend} utterly miserable at crossing roads). Also it has taught me to breathe in utterly jam-packed space with a potpourri of smells (good and bad both). It will also teach you to wriggle and slither your body towards  a spot which will not cause you to fall off from the train in case of any random push that you will regularly get. Last but not the least it will teach you to either become rash for give a deaf ear to the fighting and shouting aunti ji’s (in ladies compartment) and uncle ji’s.

6.       Awesome Crowd – It’s not unusual here in Mumbai to spot girls in shorts roaming on the streets without any care or concern. Now where do you find such an atmosphere in other parts of India? In many metro’s you will say, right? Agreed! An added quality of Mumbai which I happen to adore. Here you don’t have Lascivious men staring if you happen to wear shorts or say a skirt or any such trendy outfit. This phenomenon though is prevalent in the more urban parts of the city like say, Bandra, Andheri, Colaba and likes. Sadly wearing a sexy outfit is still a crime in places like umm Thane (fortunately or unfortunately this is the place where I live!). Tragic right? But then who said life is fair? Moving on....

7.       The Unbreakable Spirit of Mumbaikars – Bomb blasts, Terror attacks, Natural Calamities.. Come what may, the spirit of an average Mumbaikar is hard to break! I have witnessed it myself during the recent serial blasts at Dadar and Zaveri Bazar. The events were shrugged off just like that. As if nothing happened, no discussions, no hard held feelings, nothing! The heart of a Mumbaikar has been made so hard now that anything and everything will fail to break it off!

8.       The Rickshawala’s - Rickshawala’s you ask? I say yes. They are an important and unremovable part of Mumbai. Mumbai would not have been what it is without the Autowala’s and their famous nakhra’s. Ask me and I will tell you in details about my woes with the autowala’s. Every day, every freaking day I suffer like a miserable person in search of auto’s. Search is actually a wrong word, the auto’s are plenty in number, however the issue is to get them ready to go to the place you wish to go. The peculiar and curious case of Mumbai auto wala’s is that, you don’t understand what they want and where exactly they want to go. You tell them a place and they refuse to go there, you try another they again refuse, you try once more but no success. In the end of this convo you will be dying to ask (I have done this so many times) “Bhaiya, kahan chaloge?” . Frustration at its peak, you (atleast I) start badmouthing any autowala who will refuse to take you to your destination and wait for that one angel who will agree and melt all your sorrows with that stylist nod of his head! *Sigh* I have to face this situation every day. Dear God, give strength (a lot of it) to endure this hardship!

9.       The Elephanta Caves – A network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island,  in Mumbai Harbour, 10 kilometres  to the east of the city of Mumbai . This world heritage site is a must visit, preferably in the rainy season. You can easily catch a boat from the Gateway of India which will take you to the beautiful destination. Loads of things to explore there and many many things to shop on the way!! No really! It a day full of fun :-)  Recently a boat while coming back from the island was stranded on the Arabian waters due to a technical snag, after a lot of phone calls (in the no network coverage area) someone managed to call the coastal services. But don’t let that deter you brave souls out there! :P

10.   Awesome places nearby- I love this fact that so many awesome/beautiful places are located in and around Mumbai. Just within 2 to 3 hours you can reach Khandala, lonavala,  Matheran, Karjat , Alibag, Pune, Shirdi..... There are so many places, it just makes me go WOW! Every weekend can be planned out nicely and one can see so many new places as well. This is called having your cake and eating it too!

Phew believe it or not, penning down this list was really exhausting!! 
Let me how you feel of it. If you have visited Mumbai, do add on some points here.