Love – Hate Relationship

by Khushboo on April 16, 2012

Although I still consider London home, I can’t believe it has been over 2 years since I’ve lived in Mumbai.  While the 730+ days has truly flown by, I still get the ‘How do you like Mumbai’ question. I won’t lie, there are some things about this city which I probably will never get used to:

  • Actual shit feces on the road when I walk on the streets
  • Pollution, both air and noise
  • Traffic jams and the excruciating honking
  • Value for time is nonexistent: 5 minutes could mean anything between an hour to a month

  • Lack of privacy: This seems to be common in most households in India.  People are constantly coming in & out of your home/ringing your doorbell. After a while, it’s a bit suffocating.
  • The dreaded floods during the monsoon season from June to September
  • Beggars darting in and out of traffic, banging against car windows
  • The sporadic release of English films
  • The lack of serene, spacious, uncrowded parks & the mere freedom to just walk
  • It’s not London

In spite of all of the above, I still respond with an answer along the lines of ‘I love it, and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else for the time being’.  For whatever flaws Mumbai might have, its plus points definitely make up for them:

  • Convenience: Whether you choose to be one or not, Mumbai turns you into a lady of leisure. Domestic help is the norm here, which means I don’t worry about finding time to cook a meal, washing my laundry, catching the bus/train, etc. Also if I need something at 10pm at night, chances are its literally a phone call away.
  • Fresh diet: The variety and quality of fruits & vegetables in Mumbai is remarkable.  I have no choice but to only eat foods which are in season, and therefore taste optimal.
  • Relative prices: I love being able to regularly indulge in massages, blow drys & manicures/pedicures without worrying that I’m breaking my bank balance

  • Its proximity to certain countries: It’s merely a 3-hour flight from Dubai and 5-hour flight from Singapore
  • Sky’s the limit: Forget what Jay-Z says about New York: Mumbai is the ‘concrete jungle where dreams are made of‘.  I have one friend who’s opened a dessert bar, another who’s set up a design studio and a cousin who designs sarees.  There’s little in the way between turning dreams into reality.
  • Hindi: Not being able to speak your native language is kinda tragic.  While my Hindi skills could still use plenty of brushing up, they’re far better than when I first got here.
  • Everything exists side by side: You can shop at a mall or you can venture into local markets. You can spend over $150 per head at restaurants within 5* hotels or dine to your hearts content in a dhaba for under $3. You can easily hire a driver or ride a local black & yellow cab…there are no boundaries here.

Despite the number of times this city has made me want to bang my head against a brick wall, I really shouldn’t complain.  I have a good life, good job, and am surrounded by family & friends.  And if anything, it’s taught me that any city where you land up in life ultimately boils down to what YOU make of it.

What do you love/hate about the city which you live in?

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

fashiongal86 April 16, 2012 at 6:52 pm

I love this post, I think many of the same things apply for me and Morocco, definitely a love hate relationship
x

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Khushboo Thadani April 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I would love to hear more of what it’s like living in Morocco…I’m imagining it to be lot like Nigeria!

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katalysthealth April 16, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I love being so close to the ocean and the weather is typically great, but I HATE the mass amounts of people and traffic!!

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Khushboo Thadani April 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Where do you live?

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Snapshots of Happiness April 16, 2012 at 7:38 pm

The clostest to Mumbai I’ve ever gotten was to Chennai and Coimbatore. I don’t know how crazy it is compared to Mumbai… But I remember India was something else. I definitely had a major culture shock when I visited!

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Khushboo Thadani April 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm

My grandparents live in Chennai and it’s a world apart from Mumbai…Mumbai is a much more ‘happening’ place to be!

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Alexandra April 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Hmm my town… I love the sunshine and singing birds, but hate the humidity!

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Khushboo Thadani April 17, 2012 at 5:57 pm

The weather in Mumbai has turned humid and it’s awful…I hate that constant sticky feeling!

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Nada April 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Your views on Mumbai remind me very much of my own on Egypt! I’ve actually never lived there having grown up in Bahrain, but spending long summers there, some things I can’t stand about it (horrendous traffic and pollution being high on the list) but others I love (fresh seasonal produce, plethora of naturally vegan food/dishes).

That said, the one reason I don’t think I’d be able to live in Egypt is ironically the disconnect I feel as an “expat baby”. Although I’ll always consider it a home country, I have to admit I sometimes feel out of place; there are definitely some cultural mannerisms I’ve missed out on not growing up there, and 9 out of 10 people always comment that my Egyptian accent sounds “foreign”. Do you get that at all in Mumbai?

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Khushboo Thadani April 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I definitely agree with you about the differences in cultural mannerisms. As soon as I open my mouth, it’s clear that I haven’t grown up in Mumbai…and of course taxi drivers try to milk it as much as they can by overcharging me!

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forgottenbeast April 17, 2012 at 1:04 am

You always make me want to visit! Everywhere has it’s good and bad, you’ve just gotta experience it all! Mmm, especially in-season produce. I love how open and spread out my city is–it’s not uncommon to see big lawns just minutes from downtown skyrises–but then, there is absolutely NO public transportation. I also both love and hate how tacky my city is–I love hokey and neon, but sometimes it would be nice to have some classier/quieter options for going out at night.

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Khushboo Thadani April 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Please do come visit :) – Mumbai is definitely a place to visit once! I love the sound of the neon, sounds rather retro!

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Honey What's Cooking April 17, 2012 at 1:21 am

I loved this post. The first half of it is exactly what I think when I visit India. The second half I have experienced, so I do understand why you enjoy the place. i love all those luxuries india has to offer.
I live in a smaller city very close to NYC.. so I’ll talk about nyc.
Similar to mumbai, i love that you can have anything you want, whenever you want. I think the prices here are very expensive… but at the same time you can get the most amazing falafel sandwich for just 2 bucks, just like a “dhaba.”
I can’t stand the traffic – the smoke coming out of the subways – the freakin’ rats running around the subway stations. . it’s disgusting!
But it is New York! Love it.

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Khushboo Thadani April 17, 2012 at 6:02 pm

I would love to live in New York- even for 6 months! I know not everyone lives like Carrie Bradshaw but it definitely seems like a city you have to experience properly at least once in your life! And I also want to eat a bagel the size of my head with cream cheese…nothing like a NY bagel :) !

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Tessa at Amazing Assett April 17, 2012 at 5:39 am

Great post Khushboo! I havent’ traveled very much at all, so learning aobut places like this is fascinating to me! Plus it’s fun to hear from your personal perspective :) My town- I love being near the beach, but it gets soooo crowded and touristy in the summer!

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Khushboo Thadani April 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Living near the beach must be a dream, especially during summertime!

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ritika April 17, 2012 at 10:28 am

oh my god, i absolutely needed this post, great timing… i am relocating to delhi-gurgaon this summer, after the calm and laid-blackness of Hyderabad, i am tad scared and this is what i will keep in mind – the city will be everything i make of it.

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Khushboo Thadani April 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Good luck with the move! Do you have any friends/family in Gurgaon?

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ritika April 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm

oh yeah whole lot of friends, my roomie from college, and this is the coolest part :)

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hotlyspiced April 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm

It sounds like both cities have a lot to offer but I think (being a westerner) I would find it easier to settle into the London lifestyle. But Mumbai would be a great place to visit xx

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Khushboo Thadani April 17, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Visiting India definitely a must at least once :)

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sprint2thetable April 17, 2012 at 7:14 pm

The feces would get to me… but that happens in San Fran too. ;)

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Khushboo Thadani April 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I have trouble believing that it happens in the US too..guess India ain’t so bad after all :)

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Brittany April 17, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Thank goodness there is enough good to balance out the bad aka the shit in the street..EW! I love living where I do, the green scenery and the lifestyle it gives me is something I wouldn’t change. The only thing I “hate” is that I have never moved..never. I still live at home..siggghh.

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Khushboo Thadani April 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Home is where the heart is, right ;) !

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Healthiful Balance April 17, 2012 at 11:06 pm

I grew up in the US and I guess I’ll always see that place as my home. There are so many things I dont like about living in Germany. I miss so many foods from this USA! :(

Have a great week! :)

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Khushboo Thadani April 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I feel the same about missing so many foods…which is why I make the most of all my trips out of Mumbai !

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JoJo April 18, 2012 at 1:17 am

I love the picture of the train!! Although I’ve never lived there, I’ve been to India few times and I have a good idea of what you mean!
I love the last bit, it’s true for anything that happens in your life. YOU have to make the best out of it, it’s all about perception :)

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Khushboo Thadani April 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm

It really does boil down to perception, you gotta make things happen!

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Alyse April 18, 2012 at 2:35 am

The lady of leisure bit sounds quite tempting – though I think I’d get frustrated having people around and messing with my stuff all the time!

I think that no matter how wonderful a city is, nowhere will really ever compare to the place you call home!

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Khushboo Thadani April 18, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I know I probably sound super ungrateful but sometimes it’s a pain when the cleaner wants to come into my room while I’m in there – I like my space :)

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Parita April 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I have to agree with you, K…the crap on the ground gets to me every time I visit India. As do the free roaming animals. However, I will say that the food, culture, and people keep me going back for me! I think the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to India!

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Khushboo Thadani April 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Ohh tell me about the free roaming animals- I feel like I live in a zoo sometimes!

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pragati April 18, 2012 at 6:55 pm

OMG! You could be voicing my thoughts..I agree with you on the first list…its been tough adjusting to Pune after several years in the US..I miss the wide open spaces…I really know what they mean now, and the fresh air, and the blue skies – hardly see blue here, the food, movies, cable etc.etc.etc.

But being with the fam beats everything and makes it a home!

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Khushboo Thadani April 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I’ve never been to Pune but I’ve heard quite a few new places/restaurants have opened up- sounds promising!

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