Life in the financial capital …

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 1:52

I think it is time to put on paper the feelings I’ve had inside me for some time now. And given the media attention Mumbai has been getting of late, I cannot think of a better time to write this post.

I moved to Mumbai in July last year. I was highly relieved and excited when I found that unlike most of my peers, I would be spending next couple of years at a place other than Bangalore. I have a terrible experience struggling with the mismanaged transport infrastructure of Bangalore during my internship time. The city lacks subways, and one can rarely cross a street without getting stranded for minutes.

I must mention that the relief I talked about was not unfounded. I visited Mumbai for 5 days in September 2003 for the Aditya Birla Scholarships interview. Though I did not get much time to roam around, that visit reinforced the cosmopolitan image of Mumbai I had my mind. While travelling from the railway station to the destination and back, the weather and the path made it feel exactly like the movie scenes where the lead is travelling in a cool town in his open jeep. The only place we visited out of our way was Gateway of India (well, not exactly “out of the way”; we stayed in The Taj). I left the city wanting to come back and have a better look around soon.

Ironically, it saddens me to realize that I now work and stay in Mumbai. Sixteen months into it, I have found that the city is nowhere near the “Mumbai” I experienced in my first trip. Well, a lot of things still attract me, and will always do. But if I leave these “fascinations” aside, I dare say that everything else about this city is screwed up. Yes, in the real sense of the word!

Picture this:

7:00 AM. Wake up. Check email. Internet not working. Bah.

7:30 AM. Wake up call from Mom. Start talking. Call gets dropped after 20 seconds. Huh.

8:00 AM. Watch news channels. Read newspaper. Someone broke something in town yesterday. Someone is doing something about it. All the same. Crib. Show me the NEWs!

9:00 AM. Get ready for office. Fortunately everything is in order in the bath. Yay!

9:35 AM. Auto-rickshaws not on strike. Relief. Hunt for an empty one.

9:40 AM. Could not find an empty one. Curse mankind for over-population. Start walking towards office.

9:45 AM. Walked nearly 1 km. Pity the godforsaken roads. Finally found an auto. Thank God. Yippee!

9:50 AM. Stuck in traffic jam. Half road blocked due to construction. Vehicles parked carelessly on the other half. Curse mankind again. Curse yourself. Curse everyone. No point. Wait and watch.

10:00 AM. Somehow manage to reach office on time. Thank God.

2:00 PM. Feel like eating outside today. Come out. Get wet – either due to heavy rain or due to sultry sun. Crib. Return. Eat random office meal.

9:00 PM. Reach home. Check mail. Net working dead slow. Try calling Mom. Network strength weak. Wait.

9:15 PM. Try calling Mom again. Connects this time. Voice breaking. Crib. Get frustrated. Bid an early good night. Have dinner.

10:00 PM. Net crawling. Takes minutes to open mail account. Curse. Curse. Curse.

To sum up, no network connectivity on Vodafone phone, crawling Tata Indicom “broadband”, broken roads, no traffic management, overcrowded local trains – all in all, a total infrastructure breakdown.

Would you want to stay in a “financial capital” that offers you this kind of a lifestyle? And, above all, costs you more than Rs. 15 thousand per month?

I have to. And many others.

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2 Responses to “Life in the financial capital …”

  1. Chitra says:

    October 28th, 2008 at 11:48

    Excellent post!!!

    Looks like someone has given words to my pent up(they arn’t pent up actually for i leave no chance of voicing them out in the open whenever possible…much to the annoyance of all localites :-) ) feelings for the ‘financial capital’….I too am an outsider much like you hailing from the political capital — Delhi. And as a traveller/visitor to Bombay (or Mumbai i should be saying God save me for attracting the wrath of MNS and its goons) innumerable times before I finally got settled here for good was charmed by it completely — its moderate/iddylic weather(which now i practically abhors –God what made me say all that before); its cosmopolitan feel(got replaced in no time with words such as frosty, self centered and distant); its husble bustle (its one polluted;crammed; filthy place!!!) and an year down the line as you would notice I find myself cribbing, cribbing and cribbing…..For all the reasons you have mentioned ( well not exactly — my net connection works alll too well — its “You” btw…; telephone network is airtel but am in the same soup as you but yes I consider it as a blessing in disguise for all practical reasons — it is taking good care of my health for as long as I am on phone because of connectivity issues i have to be out of my house strolling around in the building compound which is for hours at end …) and a lot many more than those that you haven’t….
    Keep going!!!

  2. … Z E P H Y R … » All for this one moment ! says:

    January 30th, 2009 at 13:11

    [...] to make it there in time. I know, 5 hours is a long time for a 135 km journey. But, you know, Mumbai traffic doesn’t need an introduction. Despite all that, and some added hindrances by nakabandees on [...]

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