Well, its time to say good-bye to Mumbai, at least for some time. I am headed to Kolkatta (Joka, to be exact) to do my MBA at IIM C. Not that this is the first time I will be away from my beloved city, but this seems to be the longest period I will be staying away, and will miss the sights and sounds of the lovely city. Here is a list of the things I will miss the most about the city.
Being a foodie, the street food of Mumbai is placed high on my list. The variety of foods offered on the streets of Mumbai is a delight. (Needless to say, very easy on the pocket too). From the ubiquitous Vada Pavs (They have been branded as well in Mumbai) to the different types of “puris” (No, not the Amrish and Om types), i.e. Bhel Puri, Pani Puri, Sev Puri, Dahi Batata Puri etc. etc.; all are my culinary favourites. Add to the list roadside sandwiches, Pav Bhaji, Kulfi, Chinese and another Mumbai specialty, the Golas. Made from crushed ice laced with sherbets of different flavours, these are a relief from the scorching heat.
Well the street food reminds me of the best place to relish them: The Beach. “Chowpatti jaayenge, Bhel Puri khaayenge” was made famous by Rishi Kapoor. And the beaches of Mumbai are certainly one of the best places to enjoy the Mumbai street food. In addition, the strolls with family as kids, football matches with friends, sand castles, and sunsets are all parts of memorable evenings spent on the beaches of Mumbai.
Traveling in Mumbai isn’t easy with the crowded local trains and BEST buses. And yet I will miss them, for they are a quintessential part of Mumbai. (I am sure the “100 years of bringing people closer” slogan for centenary celebration of railways must have been inspired by a peak hour Virar train). The public transport in Mumbai may be far from convenient, but it is cheap, efficient and quick, especially the Mumbai locals.
What makes Mumbai special is the security one feels while moving around the city. I have no data or figures to support it, but I believe Mumbai is one of the most secure cities in the country. Petty crime is very limited, and is not the biggest worry the common Mumbaikar. One can travel across Mumbai at anytime, and yet feel safe and secure.
Having stayed in the same suburb of Mumbai all my life, I will really miss taking long walks down the roads of Borivali. It is almost impossible to walk around this area without bumping into someone I know.
Ganeshotsav in Mumbai is something special, something in which every individual from all walks of life involves himself. The Ganeshotsav has become an integral part of the Mumbai identity. I especially enjoyed visiting various pandals to see the creative forms in which Lord Ganesh was portrayed. (I know Durga Pooja holds a similar charm in Kolkatta, but I am not sure whether you can actually enjoy dancing during the visarjan the way one does in Mumbai.)
But what I will really miss is the people of Mumbai. And by people I don’t mean my friends and family (Of course, I will miss them too!). I mean the common man of Mumbai, the Mumbaikar. Resilient, helpful, honest, cosmopolitan individuals that make Mumbai the great city it is, a microcosm of India.