Moving to Mumbai; Smart or what?
Moving from the Oil-Rich city of Abu Dhabi, to the massively over-sized and overpopulated city of Mumbai, was never going to be easy. Oddly enough, i barely had any fears at all when my Air India A319 Baby-Jet(Google the size of an A319 and you’ll see!) landed at the new opened Terminal 2 of Mumbai(God Bless Privatization). Armed with nothing but 2 High-School Marksheets, and a few passport sized Pictures, i was soon on my way out in a rickety cab to the Southern Part of the City. This was my first time ever, all alone in a cab, all alone in Mumbai, of all places, and the feeling a mix of Amazing to doubts that the Cab Driver would Rip me off with the fare, once you exit the Airport all you see is Slums, drivers not following lanes(I’m used to this now), riders without helmets, and little kids playing on the roads having no idea they’ve been classified as “BPL” by the Government.
Before we proceed any further, a few clarifications are in order.
1)I am an Indian Passport Holder, yet have never lived in India before, barring a month or so once every 2 years.
2)I was born in the Sultanate of Oman, and subsequently moved to the United Arab Emirates where i finished my High School.
3)I did not find sense in paying 55,000 AED (15,000$) for an undergrad degree in the UAE, all my friends however did decide they had enough cash to burn, and so i was the only one taking the road less travelled i.e Moving to India
4)Part-Reason for coming to Mumbai was due to all that i had read about the city, i am a massive book nerd and having read so much in various books i deep down knew in High-School i’d be blasting the bomb on my Parents that i wished to Move Out, and to India instead of the UK or USA.
Now, Back to the story.
An Hour and 30 minutes later, I reached Chuchgate, an uber-luxurious area of South Mumbai. No slums in sight, instead a 4 star hotel beckoned the view from the balcony, and the very famous Marine Drive Promenade. For some very odd reason, Mumbai-kars find the area of Churchgate and Levant to be very luxurious, or “Posh” as they say. Also, i noticed there were a lot of old people around, and barely anyone of my age in sight.
A month later of submitting various applications , I was accepted in a very famous SoBo(South-Bombay) College, and subsequently moved to a Hostel. By now, i was quite happy living all by myself, but my Canteen-Wallah was much more happier than me that he’d give me a Mr.Burns-ish look everytime i came to eat his POS food because i had no other choice. (He sells dirt filled food at dirt cheap prices)
1.5 Years later, These are the random observations i have from the city of Mumbai.
- The People: Everyone is weirdly in a Rat-Race, but they have no idea what they are fighting for. Being in a Rat-Race is completely fine, the competitiveness is what got Dubai built into what it is into today. But in Mumbai, its come at a cost of Morals. Back-biting, Lying and Slander is completely okay, and they very much “Educated” folk indulge in this past-time of Back-Biting more often than others. They’d go to any LEVELS to get a small opportunity, going to the extent of filling another ones ears about someone else, and at the same time managing to perfectly behave with the person they were talking ill about. NO one minds or takes offence that back-biting, lying and slander is common-place here. And every time i see something like that happening, all i think to myself is, will this really be worth it for them post another year when College will be over and no one will know no one? Poor, short-term thinking souls. Also, for some reason the person who back-bites or is the most fake, considers Him/Her to be the smartest which is the weirdest part of it all.
2.The Food: While the people suck ass, the Food is insanely good! When i miss Abu Dhabi, i head to Modern Juice Centre in Colaba. The name sounds corny, but it has food closest to what i’d get in Abu Dhabi. Besides that, there are Fast Food chains like McDonalds and Burger King who have indian-ized their Menu in every way possible, in short, its terrible. For e.g a BigMac is called MaharajaMac, Maharaja in this context meaning King. Sorry, Ronald McDonald. I stick to Modern Juice Centre always for the Fast-Food cravings. Besides, Indian Vegetarian Food is very good too. On a Student Budget, Crystal at Chowpatty is the favourite. This Nearly-Ghetto place is where an Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority Inspector would commit suicide, but Hygiene aside, the food is very good, very cheap that all is forgiven. But, Hat-Tip, you’ll have to stand in line for 30–40 minutes on a Sunday to get a table. For Non-Veggies , Bagdadi in Colaba is another safe pick. Some decades ago it would serve Hajis( People travelling to Hajj via Ships who departed from Colaba), now it serves the occasional traveller, college kids at the end of their pocket money, and old-people come to relish college memories.
3.The Trains: NO, its not as crowded as they show in the Movies. Its super duper cheap, not the cleanest but the connectivity is excellent and usually on time. There is an App called M-Indicator for iOS and Android which shows the exact schedule for trains, its a life-saver and in every Mumbai Phone for sure!
4.The City: The City as a whole is awesome, however there is a huge class divide for sure. Its a South Mumbai v/s the rest battle, the SoBo people being called “Townies”, and being rated as spoilt brats is nothing new. To be honest, the “Townies” deserve the spoilt title a bit, lol. The other half are the middle-class people living in the “Suburbs” of Khar, Bandra Et Al. They take major pains to come to their college in SoBo, and swear its a major struggle. My Favorite part of the City would anyday be Bandra, its way more happening and atleast you don’t see Old people everywhere. I am looking at you CHURCHGATE. The whole city is very well connected via Trains, Cabs are not hard to find and the BEST Bus System is very very good too, provided you know how to read numbers in the Local Language
5.Civil Manners: This is where Mumbai sucks ass. People litter everywhere, and honestly it is not their fault because there are barely any waste-bins on side walks. However, People also tend to Jaywalk a lot, and have no idea what the word Jaywalk means either. Cops jaywalk too, and no one gives a damn.If you’re new to Mumbai, don’t even stand at Pedestrian Signals, as all you’ll get is weird looks from Drivers which is very embarrassing. Just cross when you think its safe. Also, Riders don’t wear Helmets, and Drivers don’t follow lanes which gets on my nerves. And, it hurts the Ego of a BEST Bus Driver to hit the brakes, so cut that off your list as well.
6. Weather is a bitch
Mumbai weather is a bitch. There is no concept of Winter at all. Its Summer all year long, or rain which brings in more humidity. Coming from a Desert Country, it still sucks because my Hostel doesn’t have an A/C. #FirstWorldProblems
For some very odd reason, i compare everything i see here with Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and honestly i started appreciating those 2 cities more after i moved here. It something i can’t STOP doing.
8. Android Phones
Majority of the people have ANDROID phones which is VERY ANNOYING. Right from Gionee, to Samsungs. BURN THEM ALL!
9. Strays of Mumbai
Stray Cats and Doges(As i like to call them) are aplenty, friendly, and always looking for a bite to eat! My Hostel Doges and I are actually very cool friends now and i’d hate to leave him once my degree gets over. Perhaps i should take him back to Abu Dhabi, hehe.
10. The Future
Having spent a year and a half, with another year and a half, i have absolutely NO REGRETS having moved here. Everyone minds their own business which is just as i like, and College is pretty fun too. However, do i see myself living here forever? That is something i think quite often, but thats for another post.
Hope you enjoyed this post.