Thursday, October 20, 2016

Why you should not move to Mumbai

pic credit: Lonely planet
I was born at a hospital near Opera House while my parents lived in our Colaba home in the Koli community. I am a native of Mumbai. When I was 8yrs my father moved us to a more cosmopolitan area in Fort. When you live in South Mumbai everything is convenient. You walk to school. The markets are just at the end of the lane. The best theaters, stadiums, clubs etc are all at walkable distance. Even the Oval maidan and Azad maidan and several small gardens like Horniman circle and Band stand were a fresh breath of energy. The sea front just a short cab ride away. The best materialistic things in life were available and accessible in South Mumbai if you had the money.
Just read this article and had an urge to write this immediately.
However when YOU have the best, everyone else comes to get the best too. So in SOBO we saw huge morchas gathering at Kala ghoda that extended right upto Flora fountain. This rarely happens now but this year when it happened it brought the city to a stand still. Remember the protests about the Ambedkar house?
The roads are old and not enough to handle the pressures of modern day migrants coming to Mumbai. Still people come in large numbers from far off places to follow their aspirations. They never think where they will live? What will they eat?
While the vada pao is the cheapest item available in Mumbai it is not a nutritious meal. A proper square meal would cost anything between 100 - 150 Rs. in a small eatery.

pic credit: Indian express
A labor class person will never be able to afford a home in Mumbai and will live in a shanty or jhopadpatti all his life. There are many low rung corporate people who also live in shanties in the beginning of their careers because accommodation is so expensive. If you are a family and in a decent job that is moving to Mumbai. Think about this, you will never save enough to send money for your parents. You will never be able to afford a home in your working life. Be prepared to live with huge financial burdens all your life.
The local trains are the lifeline of the city. If you have never commuted on them in your life, come and experience it once at peak hours if you are planning to move to this city. That one experience will make you change your decision.

Recently I took my maid’s daughter to KEM hospital for treatment. I went back to a government hospital after two decades and saw the state of the hospital. You will find the secret to how our doctors get trained so well. Millions of people with thousands of types of diseases come here from across the country. You will always have to go to a private hospital for treatment. Imagine the plight of people who do not have medical insurance.
Growing up travelling by BEST bus, which by the way is one of the really best transport services was a nightmare when commuting only a few kms from Regal to Handloom house would take 1 hour 30 mins way back in 1986. The one way traffic rules have now eased life in South Mumbai but still its only marginal. Ever since those days I had sworn to move out of Mumbai.
It took me 7 working years to get an opportunity to move to Bangalore. When I moved there it wasn’t the infrastructure mess it is now. It was a just expanding city back in 2005. The growth was a rapid 25kms radius to 250 kms radius. I chose to live first in newer developments in BLR in Ramamurthy Nagar. For a Mumbai bred like me it was fascinating, lived in a bunglow with an overgrown open space in the front. The paths muddy and undeveloped. If it had been Mumbai suburban extensions first get roads, light and water. Here though the electricity was available I was not used to one day without electricity as loading shedding! Electricity never failed in Mumbai and if it did it was may be 1 day in a few years. The tap ran water only on alternate days. I was used to a 24 hrs water supply in Mumbai.
I chose to live frugally, was enjoying it until I was targeted and my home burgled. I lost everything that I had collected to buy a plot in BLR. After which I moved to a rented bunglow in Mysore Bank colony. Lived there for 7 years among staunch Madhva brahmins. I was loved because I was an outsider but I also saw the play of caste system and food preference as the underbelly, something you don’t know exsists being a Mumbaikar and cosmopolitan.
I have lived across Mumbai from birth, 8 yrs in Colaba, 8yrs in Fort, 12 years in Chembur in a piece of heaven called Tata Power Colony, 7 years in Navi Mumbai then in between 7.5 yrs in Bangalore and was back in Navi Mumbai in 2012. Until I got married and moved to the center of Mumbai, where I live now. I am fortunate to finally live in a place which is prime area yet peaceful only until I step out for errands. I now work from home and go to office may be just once a week and meet family and friends may be once a week. I am blessed because I don’t commute. I have a green canopy to soothe my screen tired eyes. I have got lucky to have this life at middle age not because I worked for it but because of the SUPER POWER that controls our life. I still cannot afford to buy a home out of my own savings.
If you think Mumbai has more opportunities and you are prepared to sacrifice your peaceful life from where you are moving. You are prepared to accept that you will always live on the edges and not be able to save for a better life. Only then move to Mumbai.
Else choose a place where you will be able to have a work and family life balance. Those of you who are not born in Mumbai please think hard and go back from where you came or find a better place. It’s a hard decision make it now!

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