9 Reasons why Mumbai is an amazing city

Call it ‘the city that never sleeps’ or ‘the city of dreams’, Mumbai just doesn’t cease to amaze me. I am not much of a city freak but I return back from Mumbai with this indelible mark every time. There is a city with plenty of joy, there are alleys with plenty of celebrations and there are lives with a multitude of paradoxes. Coming to think of it, I guess these are why I truly feel Bombay is “Mumbai meri jaan!” (roughly translated to Mumbai, my life).

1: Do not return without experiencing the Mumbai Locals.

Hop onto a local train to find the real Mumbai running around doing its daily chores. The trains maybe crowded, but the excitement of missing one, being unable to get into another beats anything around the globe. No matter how challenging, this experience of commuting via the local trains is worth experiencing for at least once in life. According to hearsay, it does have a charm of its own, that makes all Mumbaikars so addicted to it.

Mumbai Locals- the lifeline of Mumbai Photo Courtesy: BBC News

2: Immerse in a little world built on the dreams of a hundred million people.

Bombay is a land where dreams of fame, money and glory meet uncanny aspirations, ambitions and eccentricities. It hardly takes a walk. It runs. Every child grows up with a dream of making it big in the home of Bollywood or striking it rich in the melting-pot of entrepreneurs.

The Victoria Terminus, Photo by: Lenne

3: It is a short on space but has a giant heart.

Walk into the suburbs and you will find people may not have too many materialistic possessions but they don’t hesitate in sharing whatever they can. People may be busy but they will definitely go out of their ways to help in case you need some. All said, probably Mumbaikers are probably  the most accepting of all Indians making you at home and embracing you with both hands.

Rain fails to stop play for young cricketers Photo Courtesy : BBC News

4: Watch the sky turn red while staring at the sea

It could be the expansive Marine drive or the beautiful Worli-Sea Face, it could even be the busy Juhu or the long Chowpathy beach. Calming down frayed nerves, scores sit after a busy day staring into the sea watching the sun go down. Overfed pooches walk for exercise and young lovers and old couples lay back by a mile of sea wall along the sweeping coastal arc- The Queen’s Necklace.

Marine Drive

5: “Pavs & Puris” for breakfast, lunch and dinner

It does sound crazy but Mumbai is a city where you will never eat your fill and never be hungry enough to starve. It could be called the home of “chats” with Misal Pav, Vada Pav, Panipuri, sevpuri, bhelpuri and so on and so forth being sold at every corner of every street.

Vada Pav + Chai Photo Courtesy: Shubhangi

6. A city that knows how to celebrate its festivities.

The grandeur, the enthusiasm with which each festival is celebrated in Mumbai always makes me wonder how each community comes together and hand in hand celebrates every second of Ganesh Chathurthi, Krishna Janmashtami, Diwali, Holi, Christmas, Id! Streets light up and sweets distributed, sound of drums and trumpets, and songs and dances- a carnival sets in here every other day.

Youth gather together under Dahi Handi to make a human pyramid to catch and then break an earthen pot high in the air with the help of a rope during Krishna Janmashtami

7: Soak in the awe of Mumbai’ architecture

Plenty of towering structures around, but you will always be treated with a congregation of neo-gothic Victorian buildings, bars, curio shops and seafront promenade. Just wander around the Colaba Fort area looking at these colonial style buildings and cobbled architecture and walk towards the Gateway of India, a yellow basalt archway by the Arabian Sea.

The Gateway of India

8. Watch life paint the real picture of a paradox

Where poverty and wealth go hand in hand, where apartments overshadow thatches- walk into Dharavi, billed as Asia’s largest slum. A million people live and work within the two square km patch of land but beneath the poverty and squalor is a well-oiled entrepreneurial machine with an annual turnover of almost $1 billion.

The bleak picture of life struggling to make it past one day at a time in Mumbai- Dharavi

9. And on days when the crowds, the sheer sights, the chaotic traffic, the blistering heat and myriad sounds sap every ounce of energy out of you, you realize Mumbai has been a life lesson.

Because such diversities, such grandeurs, such subtleties, such paradoxes and such panoplies of lives living in harmony is nowhere to be found but in Mumbai.