Bye bye Bombay
This week was Mumbai and Pune. What’s next?
Earlier this week, I went to Mumbai for the very first time(assuming that ✈️ transits don’t count).
Although we started off on a bumpy note with a hotel reservation gone wrong, I guess was soon able start to liking Mumbai.
For some reason, I couldn’t help but compare Mumbai to London. I mean, come on- how can you not!? The double decker bus to the kaali peeli taxis to the architecture- it all reminded me of London.
Our filmy Uber driver
I’ve heard from various sources(mainly the internet) that Mumbai lives on Bollywood. We happened to rush from one meeting to another in Mumbai and the only breather we got was the time stuck in traffic. I realized that I spent more time in traffic than at meetings in Mumbai. It takes ages to get from one place to another during peak hours.
We hopped on to our cab between meetings and the driver greeted us. We talked about traffic and Mumbai in general. He told us that they’re building the metro and once it’s all ready, it would really help ease the traffic. And then he popped the question-
Sir, Mumbai is known for rains..what happens to the trains underground when it’s raining?
Me and my colleague looked at each other. He said,
I had asked my friend about this and he said that they put a plastic sheet when it’s raining.
We, along with the driver, burst out laughing. And then he said,
Yes, how can they put a plastic sheet. When the train is moving so fast, it would come off..
My colleague then appreciated for the amount of thought that he’s put into this problem and jokingly told him to write about this issue to Narendra Modi. Guess who already did that!? Yup, our very own cab driver!
A little while later, he overtook an auto and was waving at the auto driver. He waved back, as well. My colleague commented that he should go shake his hand and give the auto driver a hug😏. Our driver smiled and said that it was his dad driving the auto! If an emoji could convey our expression at that time, it would probably be this — >😯 The auto driver looked so young to be his dad! He told us that he was the youngest of 3 kids.
He was telling us about his experience driving cabs. The incentives are decent but you get sucked into the work, he said. Couple of days back, he met a Bihari film actor. He recognized him but wasn’t sure. It was a great incident and then he later showed us a photo of the actor (not that we recognized him). He told us that he wanted to get into the film industry and had made some attempts, but failed. We wished him well while we got down from the cab and he thanked us.
Ending with a quote from our entertaining driver-
It doesn’t matter if you’re earning millions or you’re a cab driver like me, the red light at the signal can stop us both.
Tech scene in Mumbai
As we hopped from meeting to meeting, we gained a log of insight about the ecosystem (and of course, had a lot of ☕️ in our body). We met an individual (can’t name him because I’ve not taken his permission to quote him here) who’s fairly active in the tech communities and meetups in Mumbai. We asked him about the state of technology, companies and communities in Mumbai, he told us-
The community is very fragmented. Mumbai is management driven while Bengaluru is technology driven.
Most companies host meetups at their venues primarily to hire good developers and not really for the community. They host hackathons to hire great people, but fail to understand that developers don’t like to be approached by HR people at hackathons. This also has resulted in companies not sending/encouraging their developers to go attend these meetups or hackathons.
Some technology companies are super secretive and don’t allow their own devs to participate in hackathons or events. The perception and culture here needs to change. This change is necessary not only for the developers, but the entire ecosystem. Our friend also gave us examples of great startups that was born in Mumbai, but moved to Bengaluru to get hire more talent and grow their product and team.
The company starts here in Mumbai, with an idea. You take that idea to a VC because all of them sits in Mumbai, get funding and then move to Bangalore.
Once the meetings were done, we had to do all the touristy things! Started by having a really late lunch(6PM) from Jimmy Boy- best known for their Parsi food. We then walked to the Gateway of India. I was really looking forward to talking pictures of the pigeons flying away(very much influenced by movies, you see). Instead, here’s what I got.
After so much walking and talking, we headed straight to Bademiya (they have their own Wiki page), to have some mouth watering street food- Yes, not the one that you eat with spoon, forks and finish off with a finger bowl. We were so happy after having that great food, the 1.5 hours cab ride(through Bandra-Worli sea link) seemed beautiful and relaxing.
After Mumbai, our next destination was Pune for the amazing PyCon Pune! I might have to dedicate a whole blogpost for that, but for now, I’m just gonna add my favourite part here- the PyCon t-shirt!
Where am I headed next week? Munnar!
This blog is a part of my “One Blog Per Week” resolution. Contains random rambling, learning and experience. If you have any inputs/thoughts, shout out to me at @dun3buggi3.