HOW DIFFERENT ARE DELHI & MUMBAI?

Before this, you might want to read the previous part, CLICK HERE TO READ FIRST PART.

The time was 11.30 PM on an uneventful Thursday night. My phone rang- it was a friend who I hadn't spoken with, for a while. A friend I made after I came to Mumbai from Delhi, well over a year ago. We spoke about how we should catch up and how I was just near her house a few hours ago.

We spoke about age, life, career, family and that’s when an interesting discussion began to brew. We bonded over distant relatives and how they are constantly trying to get 20+ year old people married, before we hit the dreaded 30th birthday!

It’s hilarious how people who actually don’t know you at all, want to make the biggest decision in your life for you.

This bonding and bitching session quickly escalated to a discussion; about how there wasn't enough space in her house in Mumbai to hide from relatives. I on the other hand, had memories of how I would simply sneak into my room with my brother, when relatives came, back in Delhi. We could go to the terrace, hide in the balcony or even just pretend to be in the loo- while we were actually in there just reading a book.




Now, both I and my friend believe we’re middle class kids, but the definition of that is so relative! By my Delhi standards of how much money is too much money- her house in Mumbai costs way more than my house back in Delhi. So, to me she hails from a wealthier family. To her however, money isn't the best measure of wealth. She seemed to think that my home was more spacious and even though we both know about the difference in property prices- it was interesting. We were talking about a serious issue while laughing about it. Also Read: What Happens When You Chase Your Dreams

She mentioned how, when she was a kid, she didn't get a bicycle simply because there wouldn't be enough space in the house to keep one. We laughed about how she had been robbed of her childhood. It’s an accepted fact that there is more space in Delhi and therefore bigger houses. However this was the first time I had qualitatively noticed how much of a difference a bigger house had made to my life. How I have fond memories of all us cousins back in Delhi playing hide and seek inside the house for hours. How I would just sit on my patio, my terrace or my balcony at the end of a long days work to relax after a tiring drive back home.

In fact I was in splits when she told me that her mom once wanted to make pickle and once she did everything there was no place to dry it. Her mom found an innovative solution- she dried the pickle on their car. I was still trying to get over the awesomeness and resilience her mother had shown towards making pickle when she made things even funnier. She told me how later her grandfather told her mom how it was embarrassing because the entire society now knew that they had made pickle!

But for a moment here... our friendly discussions turned a little-wittle, teeny-weeny bit argumentative. She made a joke about out how there is so much space in Delhi that people blare loud music to grab attention. I retorted by saying that I had seen the same thing happen several times in Mumbai- on the Carter Road to be precise.

Things were controlled though because we realized that we were heading into a pointless debate instead of honestly reminiscing about our younger days. By the way I’m only 25, so yeah, that had to be said.

We went back to making fun of our own cities with brutal honesty. I tried to explain how people in Delhi are more violent because a certain degree of anger is essential and is almost normal. How if someone looked at you, your mother or girlfriend or brother or anyone you cared about the wrong way; you’d step up and challenge that stare. I’m not saying it’s the best way forward- it surely isn't.

The point was that willingness to fight for someone or something is almost viewed as being brave. If a guy couldn't do that, one would simply assume he had no balls between his legs.

Similarly, I pointed out how most people in Mumbai weren't just being polite, civil and decent. That a lot of them have never really been in a real fight and although that’s a great thing; that also means that they’re afraid of it. A hardcore Delhi bred boy as many say would take on a guy touting a gun with his bare hands if it came to it. It’s not the wisest move and it is often ridiculed as testosterone driven machismo but it’d more. You should have the ability to hurt someone and yet choose not to do it. That’s what makes you the better person. Reiterating what I had said in my last post...

The quintessential Delhi boy and the quintessential Mumbai boy are both idiots in their own sense- the unattainable dream of perfection lies in the middle. You can’t be perfect but you can get close to it- and for that one must travel. One must see the good and the bad of every place possible. That way you can inculcate the best habits of all the places you visit! 

Also Read: 10 Reasons Why Women Are Awesome.

I mean, we are all exactly the same- just that we've grown up in different situations and gotten used to different things. Our opinions aren't our own, they are many a times those imposed upon us from a younger age. At the heart of of no matte where we're from, we're all people who basically want the same things. We're craving for changing and clinging to familiar comforts.

I think me and my friend accidentally put it in the best possible words eventually. After this entire discussion she spoke about how middle class people in Mumbai still sleep together in one room where the AC is. That’s when I told her that we did the same thing in my house back in Delhi. She laughed about how we had all that space and still slept together on the floor. I laughed about how the entire family managed to fit in the same small room. 

That’s when we came to a beautiful conclusion:

“Jahan se bhi hon, jitna bhi paisa ho hain toh hum sab at the end of the day Indians hi na? Bijli ke bill ke paise toh phir bhi bachaane hain. Weekend pe baahar traffic me phasne ke bajaaye, khaana toh ghar pe hi mangvaate hain na!”

Translation for those who do not understand Hindi- No matter what the city we were from at the end of the day we are all Indians! We will try to save money on the electricity bill; we will order food in on the weekend to avoid driving to a restaurant through a traffic jam!
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THIS POST WAS WRITTEN WITH INPUTS FROM THE FRIEND I REPEATEDLY KEPT MENTIONING. HERE ARE THE ORIGINAL SNIPPETS FROM HER IN HER OWN WORDS:


1) As a kid i was really shy and always ran to hide from the guests who came to our home. These places used to end up being under the stool in the kitchen, the space between the dressing table and the bed, unlike rooms where in I could probably take a book or a blanket and act as if i need my own space and time. This made it easy for my brother to uncover me and expose my closed personality to the cheerful guests who turned up home, and gave me confidence to meet them in my home clothes. I think the men in Bombay have built their confidence to face guests in vests with holes and aunties in their floral printed atta stained gowns, because there is generally just one changing area for one person to probably be the lucky well dressed person to keep up the so called family pride. lol


2) I have grown up in a 1BHK, where by night the hall became like a personal space for me and my brother where we studied with the lights on all night, heard orgasms of our neighboring middle aged couple thinking they are having a fist fight. However our little world at night would turn into a family come public space when the milkman would ring the bell and the door had to be opened a little more than half for a humble uncle to notice and check out our so called room. This got us habituated to cover ourselves from head to toe like a dead body and sleep, especially in our days of adolescence.

3) The same sofa cum bed that is part of the hall and the center of our life (almost literally) soon became a little short for my brother to sleep. Just as we could not decrease the height my brother had similarly and as impossibly we could not elongate the length of the sofa cum bed as there was the wall on one side and the other side we had the entrance to the passage leading to the bedroom. This got him a little accustomed to sleeping with his feet hanging outside the bed.


4) Well, monsoons were the worst time to invite people to a home where we would have a long string of clothes drying under the fan in the hall itself, though it made interesting abstract shadows on our semi opaque glass window in the evening for the people walking on the road.


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