Monday, 30 August 2010

Mumbai – The City of Dreams! :)

Delhi, the National Capital of India and Mumbai the Financial. While Fashion & food are like two lifelines for Delhizens, its sensex, film stars and larger than life dreams which gave Bombay its identity. What to talk about those cities which are in news every day? What is that you already don’t know about them and we can tell you? The sole purpose of this two part series ‘Tale of Two Cities’ is to look at the cities from a perspective of two individuals who found everything here from work, home, friends- in short a new beginning to life!

For me, Mumbai is a city of dreams. So am I living my dreams, yes you can say that I am living in my dream city. And like me, millions of dream filled eyes come to Mumbai every year to make it big. And it is the place where dreams do become true. The city has something for everyone. So many times we have heard Shahrukh Khan saying, “When I came to Mumbai, I didn’t even have a penny in my pocket.” And he is just one among the many many people who came, saw and conquered. The city is kind to those who believe in themselves.

When you hear a morning 6’oclock alarm ring, you just can’t ignore it and sleep back. A minute extra sleep means you will reach the bus stop late. A minute late and you would be welcome by huge queue waiting for 6:50 AM - 461 BEST bus. A minute late at railway station means you will miss your 6:58 AM Churchgate fast local. The effect will be you would have to wait for the next train/ bus and the whole process makes you delay by 20-40 mins at your work place. So the system makes you disciplined. You start valuing time. You prioritise and plan ahead. Number becomes part of your life.

When you are in the office, you forget all the hassle you managed to reach the office. At the work place, you meet a hundred people, bright, young with one thing in common - all outsiders i.e. non Mumbaites. And if you happen to come across a localite, you can’t resist exclaiming, “Oh, you are a localite. Cool! Where do you stay in Mumbai?!” So you end up meeting people from various parts of the country and share different cultures but similar dreams – to reach at the top of the world!

In the evening, when it is the time to wrap up from the office, you get charged up once again to face the crowd and fight for your square centimetre of space in the local train. And again if you miss your 7:37 PM local from Fort station to Borivali, you get late for the dinner atleast by 50 mins. But you can always munch on a Vada pav. Cheapest and best snacks of Mumbai. There are people who survive only eating Vada pav, so if it is just a snack for you, you are a lot better off!

By the time you are done with your dinner, it is 10:30PM. You talk to your parents over phone and then you realise it’s time to signoff for the day. The next day is 6hrs away from waking and you need to rest before you gear up again! The sleep you get after toiling for the complete day cannot be bought from any shop. You sleep with a faith and wake up with a hope the next day! Are we missing something here? Oh Yes! This is just the starter and the main course and deserts are still waiting. You have only tasted first dish of the Chappan Bhog food. (Chappan Bhog – 56 variety of dishes served on auspicious events)

The day you feel life is getting monotonous, you need a break – you message your friends “Today evening at Marine drive, dinner at Jazz by the Bay.” So you meet up your college friends at the Queen’s Necklace. You chat with them, share stories, watch the ocean waves moving and stare at sky thinking. You land up at Pahlwan dhaba behind the historic and royal Taj President hotel for dinner. Paratha - curry with Coca cola and friends. You end up running towards station to catch the last local. Not that staying all night awake at the sea shore would not have been fun, but the next day office drags you home. A day well lived.

And the weekends are much awaited time. You sleep out till the noon. Do your pending work and plan for the evening. You hang out with your roommates at Juhu beach, go to Versova beach with office gang, at the ISCON temple with closed ones, Siddhivinayak, Mahalakshmi and Haji Ali with relatives, Hakone Go Carting with your friend’s group and now you are also part of that group, Water Kingdom water park with your project friends, latest flick with your ex project friends, English play with random friends (term I came to know in Mumbai itself), Lonavala on a rainy weekend with old friends. Your cousin visits Mumbai and he is a great fan of Shahrukh Khan so you take him to Mannat (SRK’s bunglow) at Bandra.

The city never sleeps. And not just in the literal sense but also when it is gripped by foreign attacks. 26/11 the biggest terrorist attack in the history of India – yet next day offices was open. Life was at normal, up and running in few days time. The city has its own challenges. The traffic is maddening at times, slums is as much an integral part of the maximum city as the Sensex, Bollywood and politicians, food is cheap but living is expensive, yet “Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota, usse perfect banaya jaata hai!

The post would remain incomplete without the mention of vigilant and agile Mumbai Police. They are the once who keep crime under control and ensures fearless mobility. They are the once because of whom people like me can go to Juhu beach at morning 3 o’clock and sip road side ginger tea!

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: There has been a Harshad Mehta and there is a Ratan Tata. There has been a Dawood Ibrahim and a Hemant Karkare. Monika Bedi or a Priyanka Chopra. Or you can be larger than life, Sachin Tendulkar is an example. This is ‘the’ city where people come to make their career and end up making their life, it depends what dreams you want to realise!

*This series will also be published simultaneously on Delhizen’s blog Part II titled ‘Fashionable Delhi’ will be posted in days to follow!


  1. What a tribute to my favourite city! I grew up there spending my formative years in her arms. Though my native is a city in Tamil Nadu, my dad was transferred there and so my first years (and the best) were spent in Ville Parle. Though I was there only for ten years, the city is etched in my memory. I know it has changed in a zillion ways since I left in '89 but still it is always Bombay for me.

    Fond memories of the place always tease me and I yearn to go back. Though from '89, I have been in Chennai, I can never like this place as much as Bombay!

    Thanks for this lovely post, Karan.

    Joy always,

  2. Nice article on the city, Karan. As a person who has never seen the city, I must say it was a good read.
    And I have tasted Vada Pav, it is good once a while but some people eat it EVERYDAY??

  3. For 5 minutes, I felt that I was in Mumbai. Awesome post!!!

  4. An awesome post... I have never lived in such a busy and fast city. I can't imagine u guys spend most of d time @ work!

  5. hey awesome changed...people come and go...what remains the same is soul of mumbai...

  6. Karan. This is the best one ever from you. Simply amazing and really heart-touching. Flawless!! I am not finding words to appreciate your work. You know I am deeply attached with Mumbai for no reason. But Seriously the way you've described it... simply fab!! Keep up the good work ;)

    Now I can say you've reached the perfection. :)

    Really nice.

  7. Susan: I am delighted that you liked it! Yes the city has changed a zillion times as compared to '89. I guess anybody who comes to the city and then goes away from the city, end up leaving the heart behind!

    snowleopard: Thnx a lot for the appreciation. Yeah, there are set of people indulge into it everyday!

    Ingmar: What a comment man! Thnx a lot! :)

    Jon: You got to expereince it then, it is fun!

    Niraj: What remains is the soul of mumbai... you summed it all! Nice!

    Suman: Thank you so much for liking it! Yeah, I know your love for the city...perfection? Nah re... I am still in an exploration phase...just trying stuff! :)

  8. Why do people always say the exact same things 'bout Mumbai?.. I always wanted to go there, dono when I'll get a chance!

  9. well done bro,you have taken me one year back when we were together. I used to force you guys to come to marine drive. This is the best place I ever have been, better that NYC and Toronto. Still missing Mumbai and you guys...............

  10. No wonder it is called Mayanagari !You really love your city . I loved seeing it through your eyes.
    Have a nice day Karan1

  11. road side ginger tea :)
    monotonous yet fun it sounds !!

  12. Pallavi: Yeah. And the idea was proposed by kudos for you! :)

    Ana: The city is like that... people do fall in love with it... you should plan to come here!

    Manish: Miss you too bro... there isnt anybody like you around me who would readily allow to pull legs... Yeah, my frequency of going to marine drive has gone down after you left... anyways, we will be together sometime... ;)

    Kavita: Thnx a lot for the apprecaition!:)

    sakhii: Yeah it does sound monotonous but the casual and meaningless talks over a cutting chai is so much more satisfying! :)



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