Mumbai meri jaan!

I’m no Mumbai lover, but I love the spirit of its people. I’ve lived here almost all my life, but honestly I don’t think that time spent is a good reason to love anything. People make a place and Mumbai is no different. During my numerous travels, my best experiences have been where the locals have been friendly, welcoming and warm. Malaysia rates higher for the same reason as compared to the highly livable ‘Singapore’ where I found people rather curt and business like. In Europe France has been a big disappointment while Germany felt warm and friendly.

Back to Mumbai. During a couple of my visits to Crawford market which requires a train to be taken from Kandivali (a suburb in Mumbai) and then a taxi into the crowded by-lanes of the market. I took a shared cab as it waited for people for the train to disembark. And it was super. We were a mix of people, the Gujarati business men in the front couple of seats and 3 women including myself in the last row. The women were from UP and over middle age and presumably rural.

Typical to Mumbai, without speaking a word, the person next to the driver’s seat, automatically assumed the role of the collector of fare. Notes were handed to him from us as well as the seat in front. He patiently collected the fare, adjusted the change and passed the money to the driver. A note was torn, which was passed again from the women at the back to the front via the man in the middle seat who had been busy all through acting as the conduit. Despite having to move around quite a bit in the crowded cab, he seemed to take to his role, rather happily. At the destination about 20 mins away, the driver stopped the cab and we all filed away not speaking another word. The taxi for ready for a return trip. Super efficiency, what would you say? No time wasted and quick turn-arounds. It happens only in ‘Mumbai’.

Would love to hear more about your Mumbai travels or at any other place in the world – any such implicit understanding you see/notice among fellow human beings, that tickles you & makes life easier for all of us. 🙂