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A non-Mumbaikar’s heartwarming reply explaining why Mumbai is the best city

A non-Mumbaikar’s heartwarming reply explaining why Mumbai is the best city
A non-Mumbaikar's heartwarming reply explaining why Mumbai is the best city

A ‘Love Mumbai’ installation at Marine Drive.


In our country, the debate between various metropolises like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore over ‘which city is the best’ has been a prolonged and heated one.

Being the country’s financial capital, Mumbai has been a constant target for most and is often at the receiving end of remarks like – “beaches are not beaches but mere clusters of dirt”, “roads are tapered down so inconveniently that one suffocates to death” and “local trains and stations are a living hell”.

While Delhi increasingly boasts about its mouth-watering kebabs and ancient monuments, Bangalore proudly exhibits its huge public spaces. But, one just cannot deny the fact that Mumbai has a charm of it’s own. Mumbaikars take pride in the fact that their city embraces people from every religion, caste, creed and background. It’s the only place where you would smile at a passenger of a overly crowded train or motorist stuck in traffic, knowing they will smile right back at you. The ‘Mumbai is not just a city, but a way of life’, after all, is more than a cliche.

Regardless, the city debate never really ends. In fact, the advent of sporting events like IPL has changed the persona of the debate from a friendly banter to a fight for bragging rights.

Amidst all this, Arpan Kumar De, who moved to Mumbai after having lived in various other cities, posted a moving reply on Quora to an anti-Mumbai comment. While Arpan’s reply doesn’t prove that Mumbai is, in any way, the best city in India, is eloquently summarizes why we love it like we do;

Arpan Kumar De’s reply

I took a Cab from Lower Parel to Worli. The fare was Rs.67. Since I was coming from Bangalore, I gave Rs.100 to the cab driver and started walking towards my office. The driver called me back. He gave me Rs.30 back. I started walking again. He called me back again and gave me 3 bucks back.

This is why I love Mumbai.

It was Holi Morning. I had to come to office. My cab fare was again 70 bucks. The driver did not have change. He went ahead and bought a Vada (a typical Mumbai snack) worth Rs.10 and returned me the balance. When I was walking away. The driver took his plate of Vada, offered me half of them. “Boss, ek lelo, Holi hai!”

This is why I love Mumbai.

It was my first night out on Marine Drive. The rainy days were about to start.I sat on the rocks with my friend. And suddenly it started raining. Ohh, I can’t even start to tell you how much people love the first rain here. It was 3 a.m. I saw a group of 3 girls, all dressed up in their short LBDs , probably coming back after party. They got out of their car. And started drenching and dancing in the rain. And no, not a single guy catcalled them.

This is why I love Mumbai.

Just on the opposite side of the road ,where the girls were dancing, there was an old traditional Muslim couple. They were completely wet . The rain poured like nothing I have ever seen. Yet they sat there enjoying the view of the sea, holding hands. They were in their 60s.

This is why I love Mumbai.

Every Time I took the local train, I realized there is always a place for another person. It always looked impossible from the outside to get in. But somehow “we” always used to fit in those small coaches.

That is why I loved Mumbai.

Every time it rains here, I wonder if the city is coming to a stop. It literally is like the hell broke down. I saw platform being overflown by rainwater. Then when I reached my office, I saw everyone came to work. People somehow manage to live here, irrespective of anything. The best part is they do it with a smile.

That is why I loved Mumbai.

There used to be a couple, just below my first apartment, on the street. They did not have a place to stay. They were homeless. I used to take the cab for my office from the front of their tent. I saw the old guy reading his news paper, sipping tea and I saw her wife combing hair of her one of the street dogs. I never saw them sad in their happy little home (tent?). The wife always wore a little lilly on her hair.

That is why I loved Mumbai.

I was at Dadar Station . It was 9 in the morning. It is pointless to say that it is one of the busiest hour. I saw a couple smooching on the platform. They were probably saying goodbyes to each other. From what I figured out later the girl was moving to another city on a long distance train. And then I realized I am one of the very few people watching. Everyone else is busy about their own train.

That is why I loved Mumbai.

The city is an infrastructural mess. The air is so polluted at times I could not see the top of my own building due to dust. The place is so over crowded that there is probably more space in a first world country’s prison than in Mumbai. Yet, I saw a Punjabi 26 year old guy,dressed in formal, singing his heart out while coming back from office on a bike. I saw a Jaguar stuck in the same traffic light. And they coexisted happily, side by side.

That is what Mumbai is for you “naked, sheer raw acceptance of truth”

I saw thousands of small homes. Homes of the size of washrooms of my place in Kolkata . Yet, I never saw a permanent sad face in any of those windows. People ran, people fought, people struggled for their dreams . “One does not live in Mumbai, One struggles in Mumbai”.

Mumbai is still the city of dreams. Mumbai can give you respect, happiness, irrespective of your caste, creed, gender and economical status. As the tea stall owner just outside my office used to say.. “Ambani bhi petrolpump pe petrol deta tha.. To hum konsi maal hai?”

And that my friend is the ultimate reason why I will always love Mumbai.

Link to Arpan Kumar De’s original reply here.

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