Mumbai Meri Jaan? Nope.


Disclaimer: The contents of this post are my personal views. I do not hate Mumbai. I do in fact love it  (sometimes I hate that I love it so much). If this happens to offend you or the Mumbai lover in you, then I’m sorry. The reason I’ve chosen Mumbai is because I’ve lived most of my life here.

Since the longest time I have despised Mumbai and have always looked for opportunities to escape it. In the past 6 years, I got serious about it and managed to escape twice. However, due to my bad luck or black magic or some curse I had to come back and endure it. I have tried to be grateful. However, every time someone says Mumbai Meri Jaan, while thousands around me get an orgasm, I feel nothing.

Sure, this city is great and filled with opportunities… and people. However, I’m more of a quality over quantity person. Mark Manson said (not in these exact words), “instead of asking yourself what your passion is, ask yourself what are you willing to struggle for”. And I was willing to compromise on family, friends, familiarity and move to a different country and start a new life. In fact, I did it twice. I’m not claiming that it was all smiles but I was happier there than I will ever be here.

Let me explain.

Not all Indians go abroad and the ones who do, most of them behave in a certain manner that is appropriate. They are sensible and easy to have a conversation with. Recently, some of my colleagues here in Mumbai saw a video of Vin Diesel at the airport being called out names by his hosts (us Indians). People were calling him “DEJAL” and “Abe Takle”. To me, this is shameful and there is nothing funny about it. However, my colleagues found it amusing, played it 10 times and laughed harder every time. Explains it all.

Women’s Safety
I agree I have only lived in two other countries so far in my life, but I have felt safe in both those countries. My clothes or the time of the day or night did not ever put me in a dangerous situation. I was never harassed or eve-teased every time I stepped out. No man tried to brush his hands to any part of my body and nobody stared at me in a disgusting manner. Never in those countries have I felt conscious about my clothes or felt uncomfortable when out. Not the case in my home country. There hasn’t been a day when I’ve been out and not been uncomfortable.  And this frustrates me.

The Standard of Living
When abroad, I was making decent money, living in decent houses, shared by good, clean people, the surrounding and building were clean and everybody did their bit to maintain it. The rents did not cost a bomb and even places that were a bit cheap did not make life miserable because of the kind of people that lived there. I didn’t feel like I was being ripped off every time I went for a coffee or shopping. INR 500 for a coffee = Rip Off.

The Place
Imagine this (most of you must have experienced it): You walk out, cars are driving smoothly in their respective lanes, you have a sidewalk to walk on, people are crossing only at specific crossings. No honking, clean roads, fresh air, minimum noise. The station for local transport are so well organized that nobody is banging into each other (intentionally nor unintentionally). Everything is systematic and your commute is comfortable.

Now imagine the absolute opposite: waking up to loud honking, stepping out and struggling to walk, stations crammed wth people with one lady standing right in the middle of the bridge obstructing everyone because. Not only do you have less space to walk, you also have to consider not putting your feet into tobacco spit, cow dung, trash while simultaneously avoiding creeps who are trying to rub their shoulders against yours.

Getting Things Done In General
Those countries don’t just talk about digital, they have adopted it. From booking a doctor’s appointment to getting important government related jobs done, the task can be done with a few clicks that avoid a lot of mental frustration and stress. Even if you have to make a personal visit, it is not stressful. I do not have to keep aside an entire day. People are not rude; they are in fact considerate. I’m not tossed around from one desk to another and there are always solutions to problems where I don’t have to go back every time.

Yes, I’m aware and I understand that we are a developing nation, that India is a huge country, that a major percentage of our population is under the poverty line. I get it. We are doing a lot to improve the nation and it requires doing things instead of complaining. If you are one of those who chooses to stay here, do their bit and help the economy then kudos to you. You are doing what I can’t and don’t want to.