Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Things I miss about Mumbai

It has been nearly one year since I came to the USofA.Life has changed drastically during this period, on a personal fold and in general too.More than any time since coming here,I am missing home the most right now. The thought of going to India in November/December, no pressure of assignments,quizzes,exams or submissions and the fact that there is lots of free time........ Initially, there was excitement of coming to US, then the rigorous schedule at RIT, but now nothing of that.I am longing to go back home, with family and friends.To Mumbai, where my heart is, where I belong.

Mumbai is known as the economical capital of India, known for Bollywood, underworld, its hectic pace,cosmopolitan city etc etc. It is the city of opportunities, the city that never sleeps and so on. But there are small things which make Mumbai what it is, and those are the very things I miss. Yes, there is family and friends. People will say you miss them the most. Of course yes!! I do. But, home is not JUST about them. Its about the things that make you stay there, make you think you belong there, make you happy.

I miss the food I used to get back home. Everyone believes that his/her mom is the best cook in the world. Its not just about the taste, its about the sense of passionate affection and personal attachment that comes with it. Nowhere else will you get that. Even simple dal and rice cooked by her will taste better than made by someone else. Apart from the home cooked food, I miss the Mumbaiyya food.Vada pav (any day better than Mac). Chaat which tasted awesome in spite of that bhaiyya making it with the very hands he scratches his head (and don't know what not). Sandwiches(not the ones you get here, they are tasteless). Nothing like veg. cheese toast sandwich made by Viju (the sandwich guy near my house), and ofcourse with a little slice of batata after it. Idlis,dosas (Mani's with unlimited sambar), pani puri(Elco),dabeli.....the list goes on and on. I bet even the misal pav we used to get in our college canteen, which was more of farsan masala pani pav, would taste awesome when I get to eat it. I have eaten in all kinds of places,some which even made me question myself "What the heck, did I just eat in there????" From eating Seekh Kababs and naanchaaps in shadiest of places outside Bandra station and Mohd. Ali road, to Bade Miya, Delhi Darbar and Cafe Noorani, to Olive Garden,Rajdhani and Moti Mahal, I have been there. Wow...I am feelng hungry just at the thought of all this. And of course not to forget Mulla for burji paav at 3 o'clock at night and then coffee or a cutting at Anna. Miss all of them.And also how can I forget Venky, the waiter at Upkar, where we had many a,lets say, 'social evenings', with friends. The poor guy always used to be running away from us since he knew people will pick on him once they are high.

Miss those times and those people. I have found more great friends here. But, spending every Sunday on the ground for cricket tournaments, hanging around outside Pinto Panbeedi shop(uska 38 rs. udhari baaki hai,Pinto I promise I will pay you whenever I come back to India), going on mindless long drives with nearly empty fuel tanks, boozing in Aarey colony jungle with music blaring out of the car with them, that was something different. And then driving back home, not oblivious of the consequences if anyone was still up at home, is a feeling that I cannot duplicate here. There were the customary abuses hurled at rickshawala bhaiyyas, but that of irrespective of the time of the day or the condition I was in. I firmly believe rickshawalas, and bhaiyyas in general, are in Mumbai to be abused. I miss those bhiayyas as well, although I found one here to abuse :). It won't be long that we will have hordes of them coming here too. Bhaiyya(a.k.a. Saurabh,it took me a while to remember his name), if you read this, please don't mind. But those bhaiyyas added a different flavor to Mumbai(chameli ki tel ka flavor?)

Among the other things I miss are the local trains. Going by the same train and same compartment and same darwaja every single day for most part of 4 years surely makes you miss it. 08:20 am Goregaon local to Churchgate(semi-fast). Borrowing sports page of newspaper from the neighboring uncle, the fights, the abuses, 4th seat(although I rarely went in to sit), smell of fresh sweat, smell of fresh,errmmm,human excreta in between Mahim and Matunga(not that I really miss it,but just mentioned it), the bhajans(or rather the prasad after that for which I used to wait for),'chala chala pudhe chala','bhaisahab goregaon utroge?','maar dhakka','madar**** pair hata bh*******','dadar kaunse side ayega?'............miss all of that :) One can easily strike a conversation with anyone in a train on any topic. That is what I miss the most. That is real Mumbai. Yes, the people here in US are friendly and always eager to have a chat, but back home, one gets a feeling of apnapan(didn't get the English word for that,par shabdon me kya hai...bhavnaaon ko samjho :D).I miss Wankhede stadium(North stand),miss cheering for the Indian team and 'Sachinnnnnnnnnnn Sachinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn'(GOD) or 'ganapati bappa morya',miss singing the North Stand anthem 'sutta' and hurling abuses at opposition players(or even our own for that matter),miss shouting 'neem ka patta kadva hai,xxx bha*** hai' and abusing pakistan no matter which team is playing,lol. I remember abusing Pakistan in Wankhede in a Ranji trophy game Mumbai vs. Banglore I think, and even the players were laughing. I really wish that Sachin plays his last match at Wankhede. I will come down to watch the match no matter wherever in the world I am, or no matter how much money it costs. Thats a dream. As of now, I hope Sachin keeps playing for as long as possible.

There are loads of such things and I can keep rambling about them for long. But the most important thing I miss about Mumbai is the spirit of Mumbai. The famed spirit of Mumbai. Its the place where strangers will help you in troubled times be it the bomb blasts, the 26/7 floods or anything else. Its only Mumbaikars which can stand up to everything thrown at them. Bomb us however times you want or let mother nature be at her ferocious worst, we will not lie down.People will be leaving their homes for work the very next morning. You can call it their helplessness or whatever you want, but show me one city like Mumbai. You cannot, because there is simply none. I am proud to be a Mumbaikar. Thats the place I want to be. It will be atleast 6 months till I come back for a few days. Have to keep missing till then.....