Two Months in Mumbai
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.
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!