Mumbai sucks… a lot. And I will tell you why:
- It is not cosmopolitan. The dictionary meaning of the word is “Having constituent elements from all over the world or from many different parts of the world”. Mumbai is strongly dominated by Marathis, Gujjus and Hindus. Anyone who does not fit into these criteria will have a hard time. So, if you are a Muslim or a bachelor or non vegetarian… you will have a very difficult time finding a house. The people in Mumbai are not “live and let live” kinds… no way. They have rules and regulations and expect everyone to follow them. They are not broad minded.
- It is very conservative. The first day I traveled in the local train (Andheri-Ville Parle-Santa Cruz-Bandra-Dadar-Lower Parel), 90% women were dressed in salwar kameez. I have nothing against the Indian garment but a “cosmopolitan” city would have more women dressed in western outfit. In Delhi, 50% women would be dressed in Indian wear. When we met the broker for a flat this is how the conversation went:
Him: So, your name is “First Name” “Last Name”. Your maiden name is on all your documents???- PAN card, passport, driving license… etc etc
Him: Arre… you should change it immediately
Me: Huh??? Why will I change it?
Him: You don’t intend to take your husband’s name?
Him (to KC): And you don’t mind?
KC (dumb founded and speechless)
Me: Why will he mind?
The broker was not happy. Even though I asked him to make the agreement on my name, he wrote “My first name” “KC’s first name” “KC’s surname”. I called him and told him; “THAT is not MY name”.
- It is not fashion conscious. I have been so used to seeing beautiful, well dressed people in Delhi that Mumbai is a culture shock. Mumbai women (and men) dress shabbily and do not take care of their appearance. This may sound very shallow but in the last 1.5 years I am so used to seeing women with make up and the best clothes they can afford (whether from Gucci or Zara or Sarojini Nagar).
- Mumbai is inhuman. Many times I come across women shoving and pushing to enter the local train even though the train is empty and there is enough space for everyone to sit (not just stand). It makes me wonder. I understand if you have to fight for space but why fight when there is no need? Mumbai people are so used to fighting that it has now become a habit. It makes them inhuman. While in Delhi people regularly offer their seats to someone with kids or an older person. They can afford to be generous and think about others. Anyone shoving and pushing is looked down upon. People get on the train only when ones on abroad have got off.
- It stinks. When KC and I had come to find a flat in mid oct we traveled in a cab from Santa Cruz to Vashi. The entire city stinks. There isn’t even one area which does not smell. When you come from a clean, green and a non smelling city this becomes very noticeable. After sometime you become used to it. I don’t understand why the Municipal Corporation cannot clean up the city. How hard can it be?
- It is very political. Do I need to mention the bandh on Thackeray’s death?
- Mumbai is all about the lower class. They know that the high class and middle class is dependent upon them. They hate working late hours (even though people in offices work late)… they charge exorbitant rates (specially in posh areas like Andheri). It took me a week to find a maid and even then she was charging as much as I paid in Gurgaon (for a 2 bhk). The cook demanded double money from me.
All this may seem trivial but after living in Gurgaon for 1.5 years I have realized that things do not have to be like this. Gurgaon people can be classified as follows:
- Professionals: Since most companies have moved to Gurgaon most people live here out of compulsion. They are mainly working in high paying MNCs and come from all parts of the world
- Retired people: Gurgaon was a small town before DLF came and changed its face. A lot of people have bungalows (just like any small town) and prefer to stay here after retirement. So, a lot of senior citizens live here
- Haryanvis: The local people who mostly stay in sectors and away from posh DLF localities
- Labour: Mostly from villages of Bihar and Jharkhand
I liked staying in Gurgaon… you can wear what you want… traveling in the Metro is so comfy and luxurious… nobody cares about your marital status, caste, religion, creed… the flat owners are extremely nice and do not have any rules… there are no bandhs or riots or blasts in Gurgaon… you can find excellent cooks and maids for very reasonable charges
Mumbai does not come close to Delhi in terms of standard of living and only someone who has lived in both cities will realize the massive difference.
When I put up nasty comments about Mumbai, someone commented; “Can you buy groceries at 11 pm in Delhi?”
I want to reply to that here:
- Yes, I can… if the shop is open (which is highly doubtful)
- Why will I go buy groceries past my bedtime?
- Who shops for groceries at 11 pm?
- Is my standard of living better ‘coz I can buy groceries at 11 pm or is it worse ‘coz I find time only at 11 pm to buy groceries?
I love Delhi and I will move back… don’t know when… but it will happen. Mumbai is not my kind of city.
But, I have not moved here for the city. I have moved here for my job. I have shifted here to add to my skills and to learn. And thats all that matters. The other things are immaterial. We cannot have everything at every stage in our lives. We need to pick and choose. I have chosen my job over my husband and a comfortable life in 2013. In 2011 and 2012, my husband and marriage was my priority and it took precedence over my job.