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Two Months in Mumbai

Friday, June 3, 2011

People all over the country and abroad have seen reference to this city frequently in Bollywood movies, TV serials. The business community all over the world thinks of this place first whenever a thought on business in Asia or south Asia comes up. Cricket enthusiasts have been listening to the names of many local boys making it big in international cricket and particularly in batting for the last few decades. The base of entertainment industry is in this city. All this started much the same as other big cities of the world; it was an important port for the world. Even today, those in logistics and transport sector think of this city when a thought on an important air/sea/rail port in Asia or south Asia props up. Finance wizards are based here as the Nifty and Sensex rise and set like the sun. The most well known city for public transport in India, for a long time has been Mumbai. Even terrorists think of this city when they are to plan their job. This is also a city with one of the least crime in India.

Those are some good/bad things which you all would know on paper, knowing more good than bad before reaching here. But, once you got to come here for a short stay, you would understand that the reality is far worse than what you have heard.

Image from Google Earth

 

As I came here, my search for accommodation for two months started. Two months stay meant that I am not going to get any flat as the Lease and License Agreement is for 11 months, the only option left being paying guest. A bed and wardrobe is what you get in PG, with shared toilets and occasionally no water. All this after paying a decent amount which could give you a good apartment had your stay been for 11 months or more.

The very first thing you would observe is that Mumbai and foul smell have a deep connection. There are two reasons for it.

First, it’s a horribly humid place and an outsider starts sweating unknowingly and more than he expects. Other humans go through the same and all people sweat collectively. As you travel by a BEST bus or a suburban train, you cannot escape the stink of sweat!

Second, footpaths here are not always meant for walking, they are meant for various shops. You can easily find people living in shanties beside a street and they often bath on footpaths without any concern for the others’ hygiene (forget theirs). Stink from road sides is commonly found when you walk out of major railway stations.

If you travel by bus or auto to go to nearby place, say 2 to 3 kms away, you would realize that walking was a better option. The difference is that if you sit in the city bus, you are at the receiving end of stink. If you walk (which will make you sweat eventually), you would be the one to emit sweet smell of sweat and harass other people!

A device if invented such that after fitting on the nose, would help in reducing the intensity of stink, will find a great market in Mumbai.

But, when it comes to mass transport, there is no other place where you would get to enjoy government subsidies at every stage like this. For going long distance, you would most likely travel with a combination of bus, rail or auto. Buses and railways are subsidized by government and one can reach in 15/20 ` to the desired destination.

In case of autos, you would be lucky to get auto without problem. You will find 1 vacant auto after 10 have passed, and the one vacant auto driver will refuse to ply to the destination where you intend to go, in a fraction of a second. If you are lucky enough to get an auto that will go to your intended destination, traffic will welcome you further ahead! The auto drivers do not need you, you need them.

All this would motivate you to escape as soon as possible!

If you try going by a BEST bus, you need to know the route numbers and knowhow of some localities. BEST was one service that in my stay, I found really very impressive. Try reading names on it, you would find it really weird and irritating. The names sound like private parts of a human or an animal. Boriwali, Kandivali, Chandivali, Gorai, Marve, Marol, Sakinaka, Powai, Vesave, Mulund, Madh,  Panvel, Turbhe, Kopar Khairane, Rabale, Mahape, oh shit!!!

All I can say while leaving is that this is a beautiful place if you have a high paying job. It is the best place for working in India and earning money. Working culture and growth in Mumbai is unmatched. But, living in Mumbai permanently is not an option one should exercise unless he is a crorepati. If you try settling in, affordable homes are found in suburbs or outside the city which means a long suburban train travel.

As for bird watching, you can find girls in Mumbai are usually not fat. Travelling by mass transport, running for catching buses and trains provides enough exercise. A perfect 36-24-36 cannot be found easily, but tending to reach near it can be seen easily. In case if you found a perfect figure, it is most likely to be an aspiring model or an established one!

The crime statistics may show that crime is on a lower side, but please don’t mistake it for the presence of saintly people or an outcome of moral science classes. Because the place is so crowded, it is not easy to rob and run, there aren’t many places where you would find no crowd at all. Someone trying to snatch jewelery from a bike can’t take much speed to run away, while a pick pocketer cannot run away!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday, June 3, 2011 11:58 pm

    Welcome to Bombay!

  2. Monday, June 6, 2011 2:52 am

    Thank you Sosha for the nice and new comment!! I am leaving (or escaping) the place for good as it was temporary stay. Keep reading and commenting. :)

  3. Monday, June 13, 2011 12:14 am

    Nyauta, Mumbai ko gaali mat maaro…Pune aint exactly a paradise to live in…Mumbai is jannat barring the summer months..Its just that you chose to be there in those precise two months..Some points need to be addressed which you mentioned -

    1) You couldn’t get a decent PG and you crib…Sirjee downtown Colaba is more expensive than Manhattan…Think abt the rest of the city..You get a 4×4 place to reside your ass in – Smile, Say thanks and make the most of it. Clans & clans of people drag their asses in much worse conditions in trains coming from states up North to be where you are. Respect that fact. And yeah, on a diff note, those mofos need to be sent back.

    2) You talk of stink. Well, to your information, BMC is much better and adept at keeping the city clean as opposed to the shitholes of the national capital or the ‘metro’ cities of Kolkata & Chennai…Speaking of Chennai…It stinks, sucks and is sweaty – ALWAYS!. And dont even get me started on those racist chauvinists who call themselves ‘Indians’ in Chennai yet refuse to speak to us – even in English. Moral of the story – Use a good, a very good – Deodorant. And keep those wet tissues handy. If even they dont help you combat the smell, you better start using those Emami Powder talcs which I am sure those IIPM fucktards would sell you on completion of their “MBA”.

    3) You like the mass transport. Good. FYI – Its only here that you can travel 96 kms in a train and pay just Rs 19 as the fare. Try talking that to a Rick driver in Pune or Bangalore or Chennai. Oh hang on..not Chennai..Lets not start over those mofos again!!

    4) You need to learn the bus numbers? Well do it. Rattling numbers off your tongue and associating weird name place things with it would get you a respectful glare from a true blue Mumbai veteran. FYI I can rattle off the names of every station starting from Churchgate to Virar. THAT is a true Mumbaikar. And I can also tell to which side of the local the platform would come too. Yes sir. Mee Mumabaikar.

    5) You dont find an auto? Wait for some. You will. You found it and he refuses to go? Speak in Marathi and use the local Mumbaiyya with clear pronunciation of our favorite cuss words. Still says no? Take his number and call a cop (There is a helpline for this too). He’ll take you to the moon should you desire to now.

    6) Yes it is a beautiful place. If only had you taken the time out on a weekend to go with Mishra ji, he could have taken you place. Visit Girgaum to get the traditional and original feel of ‘Mumbai’. Old women cry their lungs out when they take away the Ganesh idols after the Ganpati fest unlike the drunken jerks of Pune wallowing in their superiority complex. Witness the majestic structures of downtown – British Council Library, Asiatic Library, The BMC building, Heritage site Victoria Terminus bldg, Marine Drive, Girgaum Chowpati and many more. Go take a snack at the many parsi cafeterias munching a chicken patty with Irani chai lookin in mirrors adoring the teak on chairs and tables. And do you need to be rich to enjoy all this? Well, ask our migrants that. However, yes I agree buying a house is out of bounds for a common man.

    7) Bird watching? Yeah chicks are a bit on the thinner side if you count the Gujju bhens out. But they are the ‘real’ cosmopolitans as opposed to made up cosmo chicks in Dilli or Bangalore who are just another of those miserable wannabe broads from the unmentionable, unknown interiors.

    8) And yes agree again. Mumbai is a safe place. Beg to differ? Ask the ladies from Dilli – the national capital of shame. Where else can you party till 2 in the night and have the balls to speak to an auto / cab guy doubly sure to get the ride by paying exactly one and a half times the meter fare and not a dime extra?
    Barring that one Marine Drive case, I would have to say….Ladies, We in Mumbai…really love you..

    All said and done, Dearest Mr Strawman, WELCOME back !! I would love for you to be a bit regular here like before. And to others who think of me as a disagreeable whacko possessed by Mumbai, FU !! I love this city and so should you. And yeah, your profound thoughts on my opinions would have no effect on my thinking processes, which I think are lateral enough to reject your attempts at attitude transplant.

    A Mumbaikar,

    Kaustubh

  4. Monday, June 13, 2011 2:58 am

    Kaustubh, please control your emotions, atleast please control your hatred for other things!!

    Most of the points accepted, but Pune being a paradise (or even a pensionser’s paradise or youngster’s paradise) is not what I am defending here at all, not at all, not at all, not at all!

    i) Yeah, i got a place without brokerage (that was lucky), but pests and roadside dirt near the building was really too much to tolerate. You might have seen Parsi Panchaayat, Old Nagardas Road, etc.

    ii) I am talking of the smell generated in a crowd because 1 or 2 did not take necessary precautions! Use of Baniyans is a must though.. :)

    iii) Yup, Churchgate to Dahanu/CST to Khopoli in Just rs. 20/25 in least time possible is truly great. It is better to use radio cabs over autos in Pune, if the need arises. I want to finish their business soon.

    iv) BEST was truly impressive. I have got enough route numbers stamped on my mind while all the travel in suburbs and in Town for official purposes. One has to know railway stations in sequence, no doubt about that. Be it WR, CR or the Harbour Line, it is the fastest and cheapest way to reach. Not a single train accident (due to technical issues) in suburban trains in the past 150 years or so! Human accidents can be found live on Youtube too…

    v) The auto tariff is quite clear to me by now, but yes, we need them, they do not need us. They allow you to smoke and they seldom fool their customers, but all this if you get an auto. I did try the Marathi experiment twice, it did not work. All common cusswords in English, Marathi and Hindi have been used against them.

    vi) All of it is done. Girgaon Chaupatti at 1 am, Marine Drive at 1.30 am, Gateway of India at 2 am, came across some really artistic buildings there with a vintage look. Town is really awesome, it is like a heritage site. In your next visit try catching A-76 from its route, it is the only one (probably) that goes through Worli Bandra Sea Link! No need of its description, you have the journey yourself. It goes from Colaba to Borivali. Yes, but that trip along with Mishraji to various places inside was left unattended. We will try that next time on a Saturday night with 2 bikes.

    vii) Bird watching did bring some delight to the eyes though, especially in all the late night rides towards the end!

    Whatever. opportunities in Mumbai are huge! That is seriusly unmatched, other trivial issues (that exist everywhere) are all secondary.

  5. Friday, June 17, 2011 12:49 pm

    BTW, check this piece…found it funny…( http://www.bombaylives.com/index.php/84-things-not-to-do-in-bombay.html ) and insightful…Lots of stuff which even I didn’t know about…

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