Mumbai is one the most populated cities in the world, harbouring over 20 million dreamers, romantics, realists, theorists and the working class alike. The city is almost like a Pandora’s Box; famous for its ‘never asleep’ charm, for being the heart of Bollywood, for Vada Pav and Bun Maska- Cutting Chai and how can one leave Dharavi out?
Geographically blessed, the climate is never close to extremes, thus one will face difficulty finding thermal inners, however, ear muffs are easily available for dirt cheap prices at every station as the city has well built roads to offer for speeding bikers with pillion riders who more often than not cruise without helmets, they prefer the cozy ear muffs which prevent the wind from getting to them. One can never get enough of romantic walks along the Queen’s Necklace or Marine Drive, despite the wave of diarrhea that follows the spicy Chaat and Gol Gappas sold by the street vendors. No matter what your disposable income is, there is no possible way the illegal hawkers at Colaba Causeway, Fashion Street (Fort) or at Linking Road (Bandra, referred to as Bandruuh by snooty residents) cannot convince you to buy that one Designer Label imitation bag that manages to look perfect with your outfit with their natural charm and persistence. A marketing executive should just hire them for their skilled strategy, one might think. For those who enjoy a slower paced life, there are plenty of well-maintained parks, contrary to popular opinion the BMC does do some work, to stroll or just sit and watch the slightly older aged people mingle. If lucky, you might get to hear grandmothers gossiping about the trash worn by their grandchildren under the false garb of fashion.
The nightlife offers the reader a glimpse into the lives of the emerging working class. You might bump into college students, young professors and businessman and their clients. On a good day, you will definitely feast your eyes on beautiful women sipping on colourful drinks, in their trendy dresses and even watch underage children being escorted out of nightclubs pretending to look busy on their smart phones. As you smirk, your eyes will fall upon the under privileged families without proper clothing or shelter, waiting for somebody to make their day by tossing a note instead if a coin in their direction. However, they will be chatting till they catch your eye and then the poverty ridden pained expression will dawn as rapidly as the click of a mouse button. Upon seeing this, the rickshawwaala will pass a witty insult or two, giving you time to exit the soon to be crime scene as they being to argue loudly.
Since this city never sleeps, be it 3pm or 3am, you will find vendors selling spicy Anda-paav along with Chai, you can even strike up a conversation with Kaka as he prepares your snack. Speaking of late night cravings, the narrow lane behind the famous Café Leopold is home to another famous landmark known as BadeMiya Café. Mumbai-kars usually refer to it as Bade’s. At Bade’s, you can feast on delicious Seekh Kebabs, Tandoori Chicken and mouth-watering rolls till 5 in the morning.
Serving as a paradise for all; foodies, shopaholics, criminals (both, small and grave offenders) and spendthrifts alike, Mumbai is definitely the NYC of India. Localites fondly say the following: “Mumbai is a City, Bombay is an Attitude.”