Variety

Missing the Maximum City

Updated on: Apr 26, 2012
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“I never thought I would miss Mumbai so much. It has just been 3 months since I've moved out and I terribly miss the buzz, the crowd , the vada pao, the people, luxury of rare electricity cuts, the freedom as a woman to step out late in the evening without hesitation and even the announcements in Marathi in the Mumbai locals. I could go on and on...”

A nostalgic Mumbaikar

Mumbai is a city of extremes; any newbie to the city is overwhelmed with the sight of the opulently rich residing in high rise buildings next to the stretches of slums without even basic facilities such as proper sanitation. It is a city where some make their fortunes while most others struggle to even make their ends meet.

OVERCROWDED

It is never love at first sight for anyone as the city has its own rules. When one arrives, to get around anywhere fast in the island city, one is compelled to embark on a ride in the local trains, which seem impossible to get into. As the overcrowded trains with no doors (seemingly) have people literally ‘hanging out' of them and once you get into the train, you're pushed in and pushed out by sweaty arm pits all around.

To travel by road, one has to sit through hours of jam packed traffic. Nowadays, we are even forced to wait in a long line to get an autorickshaw from crowded stations like Andheri or Kurla. To add to it, the pesky auto-rickshaws drivers who seem to want to avoid any traffic clogged areas (which almost all parts of Mumbai are) who refuse to ply, and then one is reduced to beg with them and offer some extra fare to just have them travel to where one needs to get to.

The unrelenting monsoon which results in mucky roads, where one has to wade through open pot holes and drains to travel to the workplace. Drenched in formal clothes, one is flabbergasted when the trains are late, autorickshaws and cabs unavailable and once you manage to get one, the impossibly long traffic jam that one has to encounter.

And to top it all, the look you get from your boss who somehow manages to make it, since he/she stays close by.

Also, the colleagues at work, most of whom who seem to have no hobbies or families and like to stay at work all day and night, which makes you, look ‘bad' even when you finish your work and want to leave on time.

On the weekends, the precious solitude that one seeks during the morning walk is elusive in the overcrowded public parks. And if you decide to indulge in some fun chat with friends in your favourite restaurant, after a waiting period of at least 30 minutes, everyone is hungry enough to just gulp their food down. And after your long commute back home, before you realise, the weekend is done and the dreaded ‘Monday' stares down at you.

The throbbing masses everywhere in the city makes one gasp for space and time, for one is suffocated by the crowds, pollution and the frenzied pace of life. But if you give the city enough time, the city somehow grows on you and the most difficult routine once, slowly becomes a part of you. In Mumbai, anyone with humble means is forced to live in the tiniest of apartments. Yet, when one moves out to any other city, one can afford to rent a lovely row house with a garden view in less than the original rent, but somehow suddenly accustomed to a much a smaller place the luxury of space seems wasted and the maintenance of it a pain.

Even in the local trains brimming with people, one makes friends who freely share their affairs with you and start saving a precious place for you to enjoy a comfortable journey on your way back home.

It is a love-hate relationship that people share with the city where you make your friends, harness your ambitions and make your own life and in the process unknowingly create small million memories that you cherish.

We share a unique bond with the city, one of a teasing mistress and the complaining lover. We can't keep our hands off each other really, regardless of how vile we find one another. Unlike any other place, the city has diverse cultures which thrive as it does not objectify or stereotype you; and you realise that it is just merely oblivious to your existence.

Bejewelled Marine drive

The minute you land into the city from any other place, you realise how much you have missed the city full of fervour of its enterprising people, always on the move and devoid of the corrosive emotion of self-pity.

The city leaves you speechless when you catch sight of the crowded yet beautifully bejewelled Marine drive against the twilight sky and you know you're home in the city where different classes collide, confront and commingle.

Surprisingly, it is when one leaves the city for any other place that we realise that the things that you raved and ranted about are the things that you miss most about the maximum city.

The crowds- your million faceless friends without whom you feel almost lonely, the zillion unparalleled opportunities that the city provides are just some of the things that we take for granted.

Published on November 15, 2017

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