When I began in a city where the streets are replete with touts and vendors more than the actual constituent of everyday people, I knew I had come to the right place. Mumbai is a growing seed bound to nothing. With its roots dug deep into marshy lands, it makes sure every branch is fed sumptuously giving life to numerous others. Mumbai thrives like a frog on my porch on a rainy day. It’s progressive at its best.
Then I returned to the city I was brought up in and realized the differences- the nuances which give this city its trademark persona. Delhi is unquestionably the nation’s charm. It was crystal clear. There was a visible difference in almost every aspect of life. I will not talk about food and religion but people in general, their habits and their views.
Although, on a broader perspective, it was all the same. All going through the same predicaments again and again.
Then why compare these two incomparable cities? Well, they are two sides of the same coin made up of the same material.
Delhites are the sun and moon of societal lifestyle. Without them, you can’t label the dos and don’ts. They define the boundaries. The extremities! If you get into a fight, backup is standing next to you. On the contrary, friends are life. Money comes second to friendship any day. They are big on magnanimity. They live for the fucking moment and make it worthwhile. And then it happened! Media killed the very essence of this city and the nation went cold. We drank criticism as our morning tea while the citizens weaved quilts of preposterous stereotypes as they put their babies to sleep. NCR became the National Rape Capital and every lopsided grin was misunderstood and reproached. In this frenzy, people forgot the saying-
‘One dirty fish can contaminate the pond’
Delhi became the contaminated pond. It fell victim to ill-intentions of some and was engulfed by all. It was brutally stigmatized and consciously shunned. Delhites didn’t chose for this to happen. A Delhite views his city as the centre of cultural hub. He is impulsive but knows how to have fun and respect it at the same time. Yes, he is loud and nosy. He loves his city, goddamit!
Mumbaikars are the souls of the society. They create, progress, destroy and start the cycle again. They are shrewd minimalists. You enter their social circle only if you provide for them or become a permanent leg in the truss. More like a give and take economy. And it’s brilliant! It works wonders in the long run. Money becomes the major talk. And in the race to earn, a challenging environment emerges from the hearth of competition. It carves out honesty from an individual and exploits him to its limits. If you learn how to handle it, life in Mumbai is a walk of fame eventually. Mumbai is a somber version of Delhi in terms of fun. It casts a shadow of ambition which is so difficult to lose that you wear it as an invisible cloak when you are out doing fun things. I say there is no better feeling than that. The sense of independence is paramount and your privacy is respected bordering on annoyance. Being the commercial capital, it earned laurels for its ingenuity in trade and drama. And that’s where the buck stops!
A Mumbaikar has a holistic viewpoint. He knows his cons better than his pros and has cleverer ethics. He is the good doer. Hard work and determination are their inbuilt qualities with extraordinary patience to realize ones goals. Every person builds this city.
I respect both cities at their own places. They maintain the perfect balance.
‘You have to be a Delhite to respect Mumbai. (Or from any other state for the matter of fact)’
‘You may be from anywhere in the world, you will love Delhi’