Mumbai- A Glimpse

February 4, 2012

Hi! Sheila

"What is it like to live in Mumbai? It's a place I've always wanted to visit" are your questions. Thanks for asking me.

About living in Mumbai - you can judge my view from this- I must have lived for a few months and some times for much more than a year in many countries including USA, UK, Netherlands, Finland, France, in big cities and small towns. I enjoyed these visits very much. I had occasionally been offered regular jobs in these countries too.

Nariman Point- Air India Building, Oberoi Hotel etc.
Nariman Point- Air India Building, Oberoi Hotel etc.
See-Link near Worli
See-Link near Worli
Central Library near Horniman Circle
Central Library near Horniman Circle
Infinite Crowd- just from one local train!
Infinite Crowd- just from one local train!
Office area  near Phoenix Mills area.
Office area near Phoenix Mills area.
Traffic in a suburban area
Traffic in a suburban area
CST Station -Main  station near downtown
CST Station -Main station near downtown
Kanheri Caves- 1st Century BCE
Kanheri Caves- 1st Century BCE
Dandiya Raas -  Colorful dancing by teen agers for nav ratri  (nine nights ) devoted to Radha and Krishna and their love
Dandiya Raas - Colorful dancing by teen agers for nav ratri (nine nights ) devoted to Radha and Krishna and their love
Air port area
Air port area
Land Marks near downtown- Gate Way Of India, Raja- Bai- Tower, Tajmahal Hotel, Nariman Point
Land Marks near downtown- Gate Way Of India, Raja- Bai- Tower, Tajmahal Hotel, Nariman Point
Nariman Point at night
Nariman Point at night
Driving in this traffic- not so hard as you might feel!
Driving in this traffic- not so hard as you might feel!
Movie shooting
Movie shooting
Movie shooting- metro station
Movie shooting- metro station
view from Worli Sea Link
view from Worli Sea Link

But for my permanent living, some how I always felt Mumbai is most suitable for me (partly also because I am from India and have lived in Mumbai since childhood, so I find that most suitable). My wife also feels the same. My children who are just now in NY city, also feel the same and they plan to come back in near future.

Mumbai is a bit like NY city with in India (London also has a little of similar phenomena, though nothing like NY) . Given any corner of world, one can feel its tiny image in some corner of NY at least. In downtown NY often one can feel all these corners together. In Mumbai similar phenomena you can feel about people from all over India. India is a unique country with more than 20-30 languages (including those from Indo-European group like Hindi, English, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi etc. and Dravidian ones like Tamil, Telgu, Kannada etc.), people with colors in all ranges very black to very fair, face structures ranging from Oriental (almost looking like Chinese, Japenese), Caucasian (like European whites, I think that is the main face structure in India too, though colors range much more in India), Arabic type, African type, aboriginal type (that too is quite common face structure in India, with a little heavy face and darker color like them- but still very Indian structure too mixed).

Add to this religions and philosophical beliefs. perhaps half of religions in world may have started in India. But Indians generally do not think of them as religions. They think of them as parallel paths(philosophies or theories if you want technical terms) to reality. Most Indian languages do not have even word religion, the word generally used for religion is dharma which essentially means "that which upholds, supports or maintains the regulatory order of the universe". People generally enjoy ideas from any type of philosophical thoughts and religions and rituals associated with them. Christianity is continuing in India from 1st century AD when St. Thomas came here. India must be among very few countries where it has continued uninterrupted that long. Some times Indians say you dig any where in India a few inches and you may find signs of some temple church or mosque or statue of some God or Goddess. Near my home on a footpath there is a small statue of Christ may be just about one feet high. Throughout day one can see at least 4-5 people praying there and those who passing by, walking or even driving on road, often fold hands and bow with respect, most of them not Christian.

You can see all these colors and face types or styles walking practically any where in Mumbai.

There are foreigners too but much fewer compared to say European or american cities, just now Indian economy does not allow them to be too many in India, over all one can live happily in salaries within India but they mean very little in International currencies, though things are changing with economy improving. In Mumbai English is as common means of communication as any other language. Most Indians any way know 2-3 languages.

Life is much more comfortable in Mumbai and active, quite a bit of cultural activities, restaurants etc. If you can afford a good apartment, that perhaps should be among most comfortable place in world, for easy living. You can have all automatic gadgets in your apartment to help you clean and cook together with home-helper (for cleaning vessels, even a cook if you want more) and driver etc. They charge very little and work happily with you, some of them become almost like family members and talk a lot about their family problems etc. (in past they used to live in the same apartment but now they live in their own places). My wife always feels, it is much smoother, easier and pleasureful to manage home in Mumbai than in USA, UK etc.

With sun shining for more than 9 months (rains are only in monsoon periods mainly in July- August, In Mumbai it rains almost 250 centimeters - a bit too much) and temperature around 25-33 degrees Celsius whole of year, weather is very comfortable. That gift I think India has almost for whole country, with Himalayas protecting it from cold air, almost whole of India has more or les similar weather and sun shining for 8-10 hours everyday for about 10 months in a year except for little higher and lower temperatures as you move away from sea.

Mumbai is not a tourist place, so not that much of touristic sites (there are some - for that type of things N. Delhi, Varanasi, Jaipur or Madurai are great). There are many places near by even hill stations with in the city-suburbs, any way. But one can enjoy just this feel of cosmopolitan population and culture - commercial, media etc. It is in way both NY and LA together for India, it is commercially most active city in India like NY and it is glamour city with Hindi Movie world being there.

It is too large (population in city and suburbs about 20 million) with completely disorganized traffic. Though in India it is considered to have one of the most organised traffic. So it has problems too - some pollution, very slow traffic and so on. But occasional views of hills - where aristocrats live (or some very few slum-dwellers live) and sea shores, beaches, while driving on busy roads, give a big relief and respect for nature and human drives.

Subway train system (like underground in London- they are called local trains here) are the main traffic puller, buses are red like London. Both are efficient but have inhuman crowd. Taxis are very cheap and lots of them are there, almost cost nothing compared to London or NY etc.

It has a lot slums too. I remember hearing a foreign business expert once remarking- "India is very different. In other countries even in China, it is considered a bit shameful to be poor. Poor walk with their head a little low but not in India. In India they feel still happy to be part of society, they live in same areas where richest live and talk as lively. These and other similar things in India make me feel that it will find its own path towards economic development in a very different style from others."

Oh! I have almost written an article, I hope you enjoy and that is enough of glimpse. I see below a link for making it a hub, I never used this one. May be I will and add some photos too.




Photos from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumbai
http://www.olacabs.com/img/content/cities/mumbai-car-rental.jpg
http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2011-02-22-CentralMumbaiskyline.jpg
http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/47520588.jpg

http://pratishamin.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/navratri-celebration/

http://caffeine-headache.net/blog3/2007/05/altered.html
http://bollywoodhindimovies.net/bollywood-gossip/dhobi-ghat-revolves-around-mumbai-and-its-people.html
http://digitaljournal.com/article/276315

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Comments 23 comments

diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

I was in Mumbai many years ago and it is indeed a fascinating city. Full of life despite the obvious poverty. I lived in mexico most of my working life and the people there are similar in the lives and outlook. Poor they may be, but they are considerably happier than Anglos in the UK and the USA. Life everywhere, food and sunshine everywhere. Living in the UK is like living in some vast prison

Bob


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot diogenes for visit and this nice comment. Yes I spent last year a few months in south of Florida where there are many from south america and mexico. I felt the same.

But on another point, at the same I time I found the following also interesting about Americans by and large. Even though, it looks like Americans have lost a little confidence due to these finance turmoils and quagmires in which their politicians and corporate have got them (terrorism fighting and financing at the same time, fighting china about manipulations of foreign exchange etc. and at the same shifting manufacturing there etc., I have written some articles on these phenomena) still they have some interesting strengths too. Hopefully it will help them to put their act together.

One of them I felt is this one. A few years back most clothes were from Japan, Korea and USA itself. Quality was far better of average clothes. Today mostly they are from China and quality is quite a bit down. But you see them quite adjusted to this low quality. Rarely I saw them complaining about quality. They just buy happily and consume what ever they can get.

Another similar phenomena I saw, while in most countries the bad dealings by Government and Banks etc. they tried to hide below the carpet. Americans were among the first to openly say "Ya! we and our Bankers did very badly and cheated" etc.


Niks 4 years ago

Great summary about Mumbai and a nice variety of pictures too! I grew up in Mumbai but now live in US. Hopping to move back to Mumbai sometime this year.

Niks


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot Niks for the visit. I am sure you will enjoy a lot coming back. Hope to see you here soon.


jo miller profile image

jo miller 4 years ago from Tennessee

I caught a glimpse of Mumbai when I flew in and out of that city on a visit to India. I happened to arrive during the Ganesh festival so the city looked especially vibrant. The Ganesh celebrations on the taxi ride from the airport that first night and a mother preparing a meal for her family on the sidewalk are my most vivid memories of the city.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! jo

Thanks for the visit. Ganesh festival time s indeed crowded and full of traffic jams. Come again for longer periods, I am sure you will enjoy the city.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 4 years ago from Southern Minnesota

Sounds like a fascinating diverse place. It is so difficult for me to imagine such a huge population density. I live in a rural area that is sparsely populated and when I view your images and read your article it seem so huge.

My son has a friend from Mumbai who is returning home for a visit and he is going to pick up some spices from there.

I enjoyed your interesting article about Mumbai.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Oh! Come over here Tamarajo some time. Thanks for the nice comment. When you come please do contact me. If I am in Mumbai, it will be pleasure to see you and help you if any thing needed.

You live in Minnesota south. I once spent about 3 months in Minneapolis, during summer time. It was a pleasure. Very nice city. It must be close to your place?


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 4 years ago from Southern Minnesota

I don't foresee going to Mumbai in the near future lol. I have left the US once and that even wasn't that far away. I'm not much of a world traveler. Good thing people like you write good hubs about places so I can see and hear about the rest of the world. But if I should ever decide to do so I will let you know.

I do live a little over an hour south of Minneapolis. Yes our summers can be pleasant. Winters can be grueling. You will have to try Minneapolis sometime in the middle of winter...wear your many layers of your warmest clothes. lol


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Hi! Tamarajo

Oh! even in summer it was a bit cold in Minneapolis. Though I have lived once in winter in Wyoming where -20F is often.

But I remember I was asking in Minneapolis some body who was from north of Minnesota, how cold it is there. He was saying "Oh! not too bad! we have just a month of -60".

Not true perhaps, but you get his feeling.


sheilanewton profile image

sheilanewton 4 years ago from North Shields, UK

Well - now I've had the vitual tour, this is DEFINITELY on my list of to-go places. What an excellent article. Love it.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot sheila. Looking forward to see you here some time.


prasadjain profile image

prasadjain 4 years ago from Tumkur

A vote-up hub. i have visited Mumbai half a dozen times with my students. Hub gives good information.But,i feel it is better if you give tittles to photoes. Some photoes cannot be recognized without tittle.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot Prasad for visit and comment. I did not give title because I thought they just give an over all impression of the city, but now since you have asked I will give titles to main spots. Thanks again Prasad.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

I have added captions Prasad. Thanks!


dinkan53 profile image

dinkan53 4 years ago from India

Mumbai is really a dream city, the city which never sleeps. I think life in Mumbai is very hard for a common person. My friends visited there recently, some of them liked it instantly , while others take time to like it. Enjoyed the photographs, thanks. Voted up and beautiful.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot dinkan for visit. Mumbai is pleasure to live in, I have spent most of my time here - though I have lived in USA, Europe too in many cities and enjoyed my stay there too. But for me for long term living, I find Mumbai most suitable and enjoying.


Jason Marovich profile image

Jason Marovich 4 years ago from United States

I enjoyed your insightful description of Mumbai and its inhabitants. Its blend of modern and traditional structure would seem to make it a comfortable and memorable place to live in or visit. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us - Mumbai truly is a thriving metropolis sometimes overlooked by peoples outside of India.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot Jason for the visit and this nice comment. Looks like u have visited Mumbai. I hope u enjoyed yr visit. Do contact me next time u r here.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

I have traveled to India but never been to Mumbai. Thanks for sharing your city with us.

PS: Thanks for commenting on my article.I read your two stories on Speaking Tree and I liked Punishment of the Artist.


soumyasrajan 4 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks a lot Vinaya for the appreciation. Come over some time to Mumbai, let me know if u r here.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

somyasrajan, my childhood memories flooded back reading this hub. Born and educated in Mumbai I do miss those times. It was not at all crowded up to the 70's and life was very good. Now of course, unless you are living in South Mumbai where there is no room for further construction though traffic is immense, it is very difficult for one to even walk on the roads in the suburbs because of the rush, both people and traffic.

Still, I miss it and have relatives and friends whom I visit sometimes. My daughter got married in 2011 and we performed the marriage ceremonies in Mumbai. But I essentially miss those old times.

I lived in Andheri (west) all my life. Where are you living Soumya?


soumyasrajan 3 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA Author

Thanks Rajan for the visit and so nice comment. yes I also like Mumbai. I used to live in Goregaon in my childhood and later. I live now in Colaba, I moved here about 20 years back. Living practically on sea shore and very peaceful place still so close to down town is indeed a luxury.

I agree with yr sentiments about changes in Mumbai. But still I feel it is a pleasant city to live in. I have lived in many different cities in USA, Europe, India etc. but I find for me most convenient still is Mumbai.

I plan to move to actually andehri west some time though not just now.

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