Saturday, March 27, 2010

The city of Surprises

There are some places which you can't stop raving about no matter how much ever you read or write about them or visit them. They simply take you by surprise each time you are exploring those familiar lanes. They have something to offer always. But the city that you are living in, or the roads that you travel by each day - they take you by surprise? Hmmm, a bit difficult to believe right?

Actually, it is not so difficult if you live in a city like Mumbai.

They call it a City of Dreams. The city that can take you by surprise each day, each moment you live in it. Be it the ever increasing population that explodes in the train each morning; or the various political party people protesting. The serial bomb blasts in the local train that fails to stop the city; or the arrest warrant against Raj Thakrey resulting into a "Bandh".

Biggest of the things does not stop the pace; while a small thing makes us look for covers; we can do without food for a day, but not without the local train or bus. We respect our servants more than our family members; praying to God means singing Bhajans aloud in the train compartment; and comfort means getting a space to stand in the train without getting your foot stamped even once.

Still we love this city. We cannot live anywhere else if we have lived here once. And we cannot save ourselves from the surprises it throws at us. City with such an exploding population; the kind of jobs available for a normal man to survive; the efficiency they have to execute them is mind boggling to say the least. Like for example see the image below:

You will see two men sitting on the top of the hoarding. They are changing the poster and putting up a new one. Two men - one poster; one huge poster; sun is burning their back; the poster frame is hot too. Still they are working; working for livelihood.

We are blessed with a very comfortable life if you look at them!

I am yet to get over that scene and a new sight is waiting for me. Our very own BEST. It was my second ride after at least six years; the first one being a few days ago. And I had for sure failed to notice a few changes the last time in all the excitement of travelling by a BEST after so many years.

The first thing I spotted was a couple of 14" LCD TVs. And my usual belief and typical attitude made me think that they might not even be working. Then there was a cctv camera. Now a BEST where you spot more fights for the reserved seats than pick-pocketers; you do not expect a camera.

But it was indeed there. And thanks to 20 odd news channels; I had even seen once how the camera caught a man stealing 1 lac cash from one of the fellow passengers! That's Mumbai. Plastic bag will carry so much of cash and the mode of transport will be BEST.

To my greatest surprise; the TV worked too. That too; only one ad that featured John Abrahim was being played again and again!

Time has indeed changed. So has the city. The population keeps on increasing; new faces pour in each day so are the new jobs. But the city still runs ten steps ahead of you. It is difficult to keep up the pace. You are taken aback by the surprise each time you come out of your house.

The city of Dreams has indeed become a city of surprises too!


  1. great post
    Yes Mumbai is a dream city
    thanks for the pics.
    good shots

  2. I have been to Mumbai once and I liked only one thing...I was young at that so you can guess. Rest is ok.

  3. I completely agree with you. It is a city of surprises, opportunities and a perfect example of national integration.It never stopped despite BHAIS-SS-MNS , it just goes on. It never sleeps.
    I can all this as I started working there and stayed at suburbs from Chembur to Colaba.
    Neha, I agree it is city of surprises.
    Excellent , simple post but very meaningful.

  4. Hi Neha

    Nice post.

    i guess it will be "City" not "ciry".


  5. @ IP, lolzzzz. typo..thik hai na :P

  6. I so loveeee Mumbai !! And you have touched the right chord again :)

  7. Wonderful observation! I have not been to Mumbai too often.
    And yes, you said it right, it is called city of dreams. Everyday hundreds of people come there to fulfill their dreams.
    Nice post again!

  8. MAYANAGARI !!!loving servants more than the relatives...heee( i think it is a universal phenomenon).The hoarding picture is too good,your point comes out very clearly.I have never seen cctv in a bus before,even though i live in a land of frequent explosions...good ya,its a great security measure.And a little bit of John Ibrahim ...any time!!You live in a blessed city.Cheers !!

  9. Mumbai-the city which has it and has it not, in every aspect. It has security measures but not the correct use. That leaves it as insecure as any other city.

  10. You have written this straight out of your heart. It so happens that even though you live in a city for many years, yet each day throws a surprise.

    i cant stop myself talking about how Bangalore was and how it is now. narrow roads, hardly any vehicles on road, red buses, but now....its a high tech city. Feels jittery, as if you have gone to a new city!!!

    Nice post Neha.

  11. hey u brought back my memories from Mumbai ya....:D


  12. @ sm, thanks a lot for appreciating :))

    @ A, hmmm, was it Juhu beach?

    @ BK Chowla, you know, while writing this post; I know few of my readers will understand what I feel about the were one of them as you have read all my posts on Mumbai..glad you liked it :)) it really means a lot..

    @ IP, your observation is haunting me till now :P

    @ Nu, isn't Mumbai AMAZING? :D

    @ Megha, so very true re...thank you..again! :)

    @ Shail, welcome here and thank you :)

    @ Kavita, you always catch these lines re that I write sarcastically..hats off buddy :) not a little bit; full half an hour of John Abrahim :P thanks :)

    @ Holy Lama, about security - I feel we are equally responsible..we need to be alert too right? yes the security lacks; but the blame game does not help either..

    @ Insignia, not only straight from my heart; but i have put in my heart in this post :) Bangalore is one of my favourite cities..apart from Mumbai; I think that's the only place i can see myself at.. :)

    @ Siddie, thanks re :))

  13. I have never lived in Mumbai and neither have I properly visited it. But I could feel the passion you had about the city as you wrote it. Really enjoyed it.


  14. I love Mumbai. And whenever I go out and return I say 'I am back home.'

  15. Why struggle to cope up with the fast city? Live your own dreamy life. :P
    Nice post. :)

  16. Thanks for transporting me back in time! :)
    This post made me remember the good old years we had spent in Mumbai!! :)

  17. I have always loved mumbai been here a few times now ... its great and i remember the song

    ei hai mumbai nagariya ..
    sone chaandi ki nagariyaa :)

    I have some very beautiful memories of this city...

  18. someone's not even bothered to check the replies I posted on 'tell all 13' :( leave alone commenting back ! hmmpf

  19. Mumbai is an Awesome city.I have been only few times, but the energy and zest the people have is amazing.....Its fast life but compared to other world cities people are still chilled out and unhurried. And no matter how many problems they face, they still manage a happy face. I feel thats the Spirit of Mumbai- To accept whatever is on offer and have a great life out of it. And not crib over it.TC

  20. Very nice and interesting post. Would love to visit Mumbai on our next trip to India.

  21. Hey... loved the pictures... these are the kinds of things I can never get over. Love the city. We actually have a language called 'Bambaiiya' and a culture called 'Bombay culture' :)

  22. I have been to Mumbai twice. First time when I had gone there, I hated the weather. Second time I went there, I loved the SAME weather! Weird but true! Interesting city all together!

  23. i need to visit mumbai soon :) haven been there at all

  24. hey u have writen it so beautifully....went there for few days...and really liked the place and ppl....wish to visit again...

  25. I have heard that they have even caught some regular pick pockets with the help of these cameras !!

  26. Hi Neha,
    Thanks for sharing,and loved the piece in which u described mumbai's style & comfort...

  27. ya neha amazing how mumbai develops so fast..believe me..the vashi station u see now..i used to sit on the grass there in 80s..)hey i am not old..u u u..)see how it has changed..mumbai is absolutely charming city...

  28. in fact i d suggest that all indians be sent to mumbai for 2 weeks training..they will all emerge as wonderful citizens thanks to its multi cultural multi task abilties..salaam mumbai...

  29. It is a city in perpetual motion of change. Perpetual. A city i have fallen in love with !

    And the TV in the bus came up years ago in the South. Well, they actually have two in one bus !

  30. Now I could totally relate to that post!
    I still don't get why do they have to sing bhajans in trains! :O


  31. I was in mumbai for week and I must say I love the city. The experience of mumbai local trains trained me well for my bus journey in city :P. I wanna visit the city again soon.

  32. Nice i have always loved this city of dreams.. but now i have more loved it to know as city of surprises also..

    Nice pics..

  33. You wrote in my blog:

    "oh yeah; Sreya is indeed brilliant :D "

    You are brilliant too.


  34. I've heard and read loads about Mumbai, but haven't been there.
    Would love to someday :D
    Loved the passion overflowing in your words for this magical city :)

    Keep up the good work.


  35. Well said...
    And even more so because of your observations... And every one of your sentiments I agree, for I have the same for the city of Calcutta! :)

  36. I have never been to Mumbai only heard and read about it... one thing I have seen in common about the city is that whoever has spent sometime there can't just stop raving about the city so there must be something really great about the city ... and now I too wish to experience the 'maya' of this city first hand myself :D ...

  37. Well written!

    I am yet to visit your city :)

  38. Yeh hai mumbai meri jaan!!!

    Yeah the city has undergone and is undergoing drastic changes. It is very much needed if the ever increasing population needs to be managed well.

  39. Hello

    Nice post .. have been to mumbai once was a gr8 week. My dad lived there for a few years and so did my brother and now i know why they sigh when they hear " bombay "


  40. Never been to Mumbai. Your post was a nice lil de tour :)

  41. @ Tavish, I love Mumbai :))

    @ Hobo, yeah :)

    @ nsiyer, we have this in common :)

    @ Nethra, the pace is what I love the most :D

    @ Shilpa, oh cannot forget this city re..

    @ Bikram, that's a good song :))

    @ Nu, I already did :)

    @ SG, do visit :)

    @ ZB - the spirit of Mumbai..exactly..that's the major reason terrorists make it a target..

    @ IHM, they are not as good as the ones you click :) I am planning to write a post on Mumbaiya lingo :))

    @ Aditya, that's Mumbai for u :D

    @ Chandana, come home whenever u visit :))

    @ Rohini, thank you very much :)

    @ Haddock, you have heard it right..

    @ RD, thanks a lot :))

    @ Ramesh, I love Vashi fact most of the harbour line stations in new mumbai..salaam Mumbai :))

    @ Kavi, we also have 2 tvs in a bus..I have mentioned that..n I love Mumbai too :))

    @ Neha, bhajans in train is indeed a mystery, innit? :D

    @ Magiceye, welcome here :)

    @ Harini, come soon :)))

    @ Swatantra, thank you..

    @ IP, me and brilliant? not true; but thank you :D

    @ Chatterbox, thanks a lot girl..I love this city too much.. :)))

    @ G, <3. I know that :))

    @ Dhiman, visit and you will know that the city is indeed magical :))

    @ Neha, I am sure you will visit soon :))

    @ Scarlet, hahahaha..I somehow like to call it Mumbai :P

    @ DC, visit but :)

  42. and i still love mumbai. Those beaches, overcrowded trains, panipuris and vadapavs, and yes the mumbaiyya language. And there is 1 thing my friend who has come from delhi said...if u can survive in mumbai...u can survive anywhere :)

  43. I second you Gayathri..In fact I am planning to write a post on Mumbaiya Lingo :P

  44. As they say, once a Mumbaikar, always a Mumbaikar :D.
    City has changed a lot and is still changing. New buses, bigger potholes, old crumbling buildings standing next to neck-sprain-causing-highrises (no seriously they do!), bandra worli sea link, new political party to take over sena's reigns etc etc.. yes lot has changed :D...

    and btw, you got Raj Thackeray's spelling wrong :P....