Mumbai definitely wasn’t love at first sight for me. The first time I visited it, as a tourist in 2002, I found its contrasts and extremities off-putting. To me, it felt like Mumbai had an identity crisis. It seemed like it was an Indian city trying to be western.
My first year living in Mumbai wasn’t much better. I found plenty to dislike about it — the traffic and pollution, honking, crowds, and heat. The lack of space and privacy really bothered me. Not to mention how the city continually crumbles during the monsoon.
Yet, as my fourth year of living in Mumbai draws to a close, I’ve really grown to appreciate what the city has to offer. Strangely enough, I now love how its contrasts are confronting to people. Mumbai has shock value. It requires a certain strength to live here, appreciate the city for what it is, and fall into its groove. I love how it almost forced me to leave, but I didn’t.
Everyone and everything exists side by side in Mumbai. I can shop at a mall, or a simple local market. I can drink cocktails at a bar by the beach, or dine in a dhaba. I can go out alone safely at night, take a rickshaw and not get threatened and cheated. Indeed, I can take a rickshaw onto the premises of a five star hotel. We get fresh fish delivered to our door. Although the city is stretched for resources, we never have power cuts. And, Mumbai is the only city in India with a huge national park.
Want more reasons to love Mumbai? Check out this article on Mumbai Boss today. It shares some wonderful perspectives on Mumbai’s appeal.
Photo credit: Calamur.