Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Goodbye Mumbai!

This is going to be last year in Mumbai, or I very much hope it will be. Three years here and I’m already tired of it, it’s nothing new though, I just get tired of places easily.

So this is a post about what I will miss the most about the city, even though I cant wait to get out, I know when it comes to leaving, it will not be easy.

Three years are about to end and at end of them I will have got a bit of the best and bit of the worst of the city, but its more than just sights and places, it’s about the experience of these places and conversations with people along the way. Everyone has to story to tell here, from the taxi driver to the vada pav guy down the street.

1. Sunday walks around the Fort Area: There is nothing better on a Sunday morning than walking around the fort area where you can actually see the buildings as the rest of Mumbai is enjoying their Sunday at home sleeping, leaving the area nearly empty and ready to be explored.

2. The People, yes of course, something has to be said here, whether its my vada pav guy, newspaper guy, sandwich guy, security guy, they are some of the friendliest people Ive met and with some of the most interesting stories to tell. And this holds true for the rest of Mumbai, I’ve been to Delhi numerous times and I can say with confidence that people in Mumbai are waaay friendlier.

3. Vada Pav, this is one food item I know I will be longing for as soon as I leave Mumbai, as Im already missing it and trying to convince my mother to make some for me. Even my sister who spent years in Maharashtra begs me to bring back vada pavs for her everytime I come back home.

4. ‘Don’t worry ma its Mumbai’, whether it’s six in the morning or 2 am, I have realised that its okay and safe to walk around Mumbai without worrying about a sex offender lurking in the shadows. And if you are on Marine Drive in the middle of the night, don’t be scared there will be the midnight chaiwallah nearby and soon enough the nightly demons will be blown away with cigarettes and chai.

5. I can still remember the first time I travelled in a local, it was quite empty and perfect for a first time experience, where I just stood on the door, the wind hitting my face and leaning out with a smile plastered on my face, just trying to ignore my mother’s voice in my head telling me to be sensible and sit down.

On the other hand I know I’ll be happy about leaving behind some things

1. Watching my step while I walk so that I don’t step in dog shit or praying that a passing crow doesn’t crap on my head.

2. The traffic, oh the traffic, I have spent my day just being stuck in traffic, keeping an eye on the meter and wondering how much of dent will it make in my allowance.

3. I did talk about the wonderful people, but there is a downside, there are so many, some times, I just wished there were fewer people, I know, a pipe-dream, its India. But still growing up in a small town, walking down a street usually involved just strolling to the destination, here it feels like I’m marching and have to move fast before somebody elbows me out of the way.

4. Locals at peak time: Yes, I got over the rosy memory of me enjoying my first train ride when I took the train from Andheri to Malad at peak time, I was new and naïve what did I know of the fate that awaited me. And for a person who suffers from a fear of suffocation that was not one of my best experiences.

There is probably so much more that I can write about Mumbai, but not much I can think of now, this post will probably be apt for when I have actually left. Who knows, I might end up just coming back here.

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