Millions of people come to move here in hope of discover their true calling. I lived here for an year and here are travel tidbits that might help you on your next visit.
If you have ever travelled in Mumbai on foot, you need to know a couple of unspoken rules,
First : Do not walk slow and block the path. Mumbaikars are usually in a hurry to reach places and you will end up with dirty looks from fellow pedestrians.
Second: If you plan to stop, look behind you before doing so as the person walking behind you might bump into you.
Walking on the streets of Mumbai during the rains, is a whole another story. In case you are carrying an umbrella, there is a unique way how people make way through the streets here, since the population is plenty, it’s hard not to bump umbrellas with other commuters. People will usually raise or lower their umbrellas to let you pass or they will tilt it in the opposite direction to allow you passage to make your way.
It is truly a sight to behold during the rainy season. There can be some inconveniences with travel and commuting in general, the city livens up during the rains.
The best part about Mumbai is that people do not judge you. I have travelled to several cities in India and I find this to be the unique to Mumbaikars. They don’t expect you to follow the herd. Everybody comes here to build an identity for themselves so they are embrace your weirdness like nobody else. This gives you a strong sense of self and you feel incredible comfortable in your own skin.
There are a couple more differences that one will find in Mumbai. For example : a maid isn’t called a bai but moushi. A cigarette shop is called a tapri. Favorite breakfast for people here is vada pav, this breakfast is perfectly suited for on-the-go lifestyle of the working people of Mumbai.
Getting used to the climate of Mumbai is harder for some people. The air is high in humidity and you will find yourself frequently drenched in sweat. It’s advisable to carry a spare set of clothes when you are commuting and a bottle of perfume or deodorant.
When you are looking to travel, Mumbai has excellent connectivity in terms of autos, cabs, buses and trains. Local trains are truly the lifeline of Mumbai, you can travel from one end to the other on the cheap. Mumbai is also well connected via metro rail.
New comers may be taken aback with the sheer number of people loaded into the limited standing space in a local train. So get ready to be used to being squished between people. People prefer standing on the door way to allow some of the sweat to vaporize.
The commute can be confusing in the beginning, so there is a dedicated app called M-indicator for it. This app will allow you to locate the fastest way to travel, which bus, train to catch and even what how much time it would require to reach your destination. Truly a must-have app to have in your arsenal if you are trying to master travelling in Mumbai.
Birthdays here is more about enjoying the occasion than spending tons of money throwing a party. In Mumbai, people understand that you are trying to survive on limited income and it will be a party where everybody pitches in. This allows you the flexibility to buy yourself a present.
One more thing which isn’t as apparent is that Mumbai people have a considerably smaller personal space than most cities. This may be due to the habit of travelling in crowded trains or due to the fact that there isn’t much space for people to move around. This can be intimidating for people when someone is standing too close to them while talking or making conversation.
Mumbaikars value art and creativity. You are likely to find several comedy clubs, art exhibitions and open mics around the city. It is true when they say Mumbai is an emotion. There is always an event happening around the city, so your chances of getting bored are limited.
On weekends Mumbaikars go on treks, there are plenty of natural places near Mumbai where people can go for trekking. They also visit Marine Drive or Bandstand. For some people, weekdays are best spent catching up on sleep.
Mumbai is the city that never sleeps. The night life of Mumbai caters to all kinds of budgets, with places that cost a few hundred bucks to places where the prices can make your eyes-water.
This is the city which is great for people who are obsessed with celebrities, Mumbai is the official home to Bollywood, the Indian film industry. You can find people lining up outside homes of notable stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan.
I have just given you a bite-sized taste of what this amazing city has to offer. If you ever plan to visit this city, it will embrace you into it’s fast-paced life. You will forge friendships that will last for years to come.