“California’s sunshine. Sunset in Miami. Italian landscapes, French…….. WHAT!?” , my long list of sigh worthy remarks is interrupted.
“I said open your umbrella” And before that could sink in, I am drenched. And I just can’t bring myself to say— “Monsoon In Mumbai”
A phenomena that is ultimately inevitable.
Mumbai is a city in which 19.6 million hearts beat at once and all the noise it makes, is a good excuse for all the noise THEY make.
I have been living here since I could remember and the soul of the city still exhilarates me and makes me weak in the knees (Not really, wink). Yeah, I am talking about a city , the only city in the world, I believe, which has ice cream flavours ranging from Chikoo delight to New York cheesecake. And do not get me started on the dilemma of the Autorickshaws which you may or may not have come to know as tuk-tuk in Thailand and Sri Lanka. You are standing on a street with your hand raised as if to hitchhike (Minus the outstretched thumb). One of the Autorickshaws sees you and stops, much to your annoyance (Long story). If the destination is too far, the driver will say no and if the destination is too near……… He still will say no. He will say no if you are asking for a ride (Paid) anywhere near lunch or dinner time.
So caution: Schedule your errands only around these specific hours, irrespective of your needs— that is irrelevant anyway.
As for bookshops. Sigh. Like America has Barnes and Nobles, India has CROSSWORD. An enterprise whose employees seem to have not read a novel in their entire life.
The mothers in these are just a sight for my sore eyes and as my eyes are never sore, they are quite annoying. A poor child asks to buy a book and the mother calls some relative asking if it is apt for a 12 year old or not. And if that book turned out to be twilight, then that poor guy is getting hell for his so called ‘unethical’ preferences.
School life in Mumbai is something for which there is no word in the dictionary. Let me just sum it up.
We are stuck somewhere between the dunce cap era and the modern era. Phones aren’t allowed in.
We got uniforms made by the possibly the worst fashion designer ever.
Teachers narrate a story or a legend about some ancient guy who was so devoted to his teacher, that he cut off his thumb for him. And then they look at us, drooling over the textbook, eyes glazing over stage and sigh. I know where those expectations are coming from. Girls here are ready to jam a fork in their eyeballs to got to a 1D concert, so cutting off a thumb, why not? These are usually the Hindi or the Sanskrit teachers.
Oh yeah and we need to carry a freaking something called a washroom pass to roam about the corridors (As no one actually uses the washroom).
Also, examination halls got two invigilators. The warty, stereotype one’s most of the time. And still people got the audacity to copy like they get paid for it. I may not copy myself, but I got immense respect for the one’s who do.
Right now I am inside a Starbucks situated inside a shopping mall and I have a direct view of teenagers frolicking around in their hideous clothes (What’s up with those tops that they kinda tie a butterfly knot over their bellybutton?). I am a teenager, yes. But not a TEENAGER.
And if you haven’t heard, grandmothers in India are a different species. They grew up in a conservative era, and hence they love to point out that my jeans are torn and I yell back , “ THEY ARE CALLED RIPPED JEANS AND I PAID EXTRA FOR THEM”.
But for some reason , they are gifted cooks. All of them. Not even a Masterchef can counter their brilliance in cooking. They just know. India got something called ghee which is nothing but clarified butter. I hate it. My Gramma has a notion that my clothes are hanging around my frame and I need to be fed even when I tell her for the umpteenth time that it is called a hoodie and they are meant to hang around the frame, and she tries to feed me that………….. when she knows I am lactose intolerant.
Also they will keep on serving you food the second your plate looks empty— that is just who they are. They are a different species but they are a better species.
I absolutely love my life in Mumbai. I’d rather not be somewhere else. Turning a blind eye to the teacher’s exaggerated preferences, they are quite lovely and devoted with a hint of their unique personalities.
And as Mumbai is a cosmopolitan, there are people who live and thrive together from different states, and states are so diverse that they might as well be from different countries. Ranging from different skin colors, to spoken languages, to even clothing (Not to mention accents)
People get out together to go to their respective temples, churches and mosques, hand in hand.
And that is what I love about India— also we get a holiday on Diwali, Christmas and Eid alike , so that is a bonus.
The soul of the city if so vibrant, so colorful, so adventurous and so free……… I was in love the minute I opened my eyes for the very first time.
A very important component of Mumbai is the Mumbai Local Train Network and I will be back with a new post about the same, soon.