‘Certain cities have an aura that can’t be specifically described or pinpointed. Bombay is one of them. The city can make or mar you but mercifully it often makes you. Unless you’re an idiot of the highest order, Bombay will transform your life for the better.’
-Namdeo Dhasaal, Famous Marathi Dalit poet who wrote an award-winning book ‘Golpeetha’; translated from Marathi by the writer
So very true. People from far-flung places come to Bombay to try their luck (qismat aazmaane). It’s not just the lure of tinsel town that sweeps wannabe actors off their feet and they get drawn to the metropolis like moths to a flame, people from all walks of life come to Bombay (sorry, Mumbai!) in search of livelihood and the city also accepts and embraces them whole-heartedly. The famous poet-lyricist Sampooran Singh Gulzar once said, There’s something very special about Bombay/ When this city extends its hand, it seems as if it’s mother’s hand.
Some people may call Mumbai a heartless city but then the same can be said about all very big cities. Go to any big city for the first time and if you don’t know any person out there, you’re bound to feel alienated or will think for a while that you don’t belong to this (new) place. You feel all at sea. This is but natural. But one quickly gets over this temporary feeling of alienation in Mumbai because of its high level of acceptance.
You instantaneously become a part (and parcel) of the Financial Capital of India. There’re so many avenues for earning bread and butter that once you come, you don’t go back. In other words, Mumbai doesn’t let you leave.
The city grows on you. Strugglers make their lives and prove their mettle and metier in this city of dreams that provides ample opportunities to realise your cherished aspirations.
The generosity of Mumbai is proverbial. Feel it for yourself during natural calamities. People help each other without any reservations unlike Delhi, where a young man is stabbed on a busy road in broad daylight and the indifferent bystanders take selfies nonchalantly.
Mumbai is the melting-pot or a cauldron of different communities and cultures. It’s a salad-bowl of communities and a melange of diversities. Yet, the people of Mumbai live without any fuss.
One sociologist, Dr Meera Kosambi, observed that because of Mumbai’s very hectic life and the huge expanse of the city, most of its denizens have no time for indulging in useless and unnecessary pursuits and that’s a positive aspect. It makes Mumbai a hassle-free place, provided you get a foothold here. And you get it sooner or later.
Mumbai also has a cultural background. Famous Asiatic Society is here and India’s best art galleries (Jehangir Art Gallery, for example) are in Mumbai. J J School of Arts is here. The city has everything that one needs to survive and also creatively thrive. From the slime to sublime, Mumbai offers interesting slices of life and is a mosaic of diversities.
One must visit Mumbai at least once to experience life in all its avatars and shades.
Lastly, Pin Code 400001 is Mumbai’s postal code and is quite fascinating.