Sunday, 17 August 2014

Mumbai and Me - a guestpost

 - Eli, you make me miss Mumbai like hell - he writes in his comment. And I know it is him, the outspoken Vishal, whom I share my intense Mumbai - fascination with..

You see, dear reader, an amazing and unexpected joy of writing this blog has been connecting with fellow writers/bloggers. Vishal's blog: Scripting the story of life is a pure addiction to me. Vishal writes with humor, depth, style and strength and he has an incredible ability to cover a wide range of subjects. And he is, like me, in a passionate relationship with Mumbai. It was meant to be. I just knew that at some point I had to ask him to guest post. So, guess what he chose as a theme..? 

Please dear reader: buckle up for an emotional, funny unforgettable ride, when Vishal takes us to his Mumbai:

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Mumbai and Me

When true-blue Mumbaikar Eli- that’s how I call her- asked me to do a blog post for her, the idea that popped in my head was, Mumbai. No prize for guessing. Now, what do I write about Mumbai? A city that fascinates me to no end, where life is celebrated unplugged throughout the day and night.

I was not born and brought up in Mumbai. Like millions, I came with aspiration to chase my dreams, owing to my fascination for this amazing city where I know I can make my life. Mumbai struck my senses on Day One as I stood, amazed at the towering and iconic Chattrapathi Shivaji Terminus, less known as CST but more as VT, dating to the colonial era, yellow-and-black cabs, Best Buses and, of course, fake Gucci bags, sold at Colaba causeway. It was a life-long thrilling experience where we made memories drinking to heaven at the cheap Gokul, Leopold or Sports Express Bar. It was love at first sight.

The local trains became my life line. My first tryst with local train was when I hopped on a jam-packed local from Churchgate to Santacruz. As the train ambled past Bandra, I became shit scared. How can trains be so crowded? How on earth I am gonna get out! I wriggled my way, shoved by the crowd and finally pushed my my tiny body out. I felt like the Olympic champ, fighting the human masses to breathe free. Don’t they say if you fight the crowd out of the train, you’ve won the first Mumbai battle. How true!

I would spend two and half years in Mumbai, making friends with two twin sisters and street urchins at Marine Drive who would call me, ‘Seth’ (Boss). We became friends. What I like best about this cosmopolitan city is that no matter where we belong to, Mumbai welcome us with open arms. The cute twin sisters, no matter how battered they were with life, would always delight me with a smile on their faces. For the rest of the world, they are beggars but for me, they were two sweet friends who are an inspiration. I still miss them!

Once I reached Mumbai past midnight and was clueless where to go and find a place to sleep. At that time, I was still in Pune and but had to travel to Mumbai every week for my Post Grad’s admission. The time I reached Churchgate, I couldn’t find any place to stay but went straight to the University hostel, International Students Hostel (ISH), trying out my luck to find a shelter for the night. The security guys didn’t relent but some boys, somehow, convinced them to let me in. Finally, I was accommodated on the dining table in the mess. Yesh! In Mumbai, you can sleep anywhere if you got the pace to survive, be it the pavement, Marine Drive or a table. Deep inside, I decided that I have to be in Mumbai no matter what it takes and even if it means, sleeping on the streets to survive.

Experiences! There are many. My first encounter with the beggar, who skillfully hid his right hand under his shirt, walked to the taxi I was sitting in, asking for money. I readily gave him ten bucks, feeling sad that the poor man lost his right hand. The next day, the beggar-actor pulled another coup but this time, the left hand was lost. I felt like an idiot. This is Mumbai for you.

I call Mumbai, my city. Maximum City, as it is called, gave me so much where I experienced and learned so many things about life. Right now, I am not in Mumbai but the addiction that it is, grows on me every single moment, reminding me that I’ve never left and not once, I don’t miss Mumbai. It’s my muse. No matter where you go, the city will grow on you so much, reminding you that it’s waiting for you with open arms. I shall be back. It may take me some more time but I will embrace my muse. 

That’s the power of Mumbai. You cannot bid good bye forever.

Once a girl told me at the time, I was starting my life in Mumbai, “If you got the pace, you survive.’
My muse! I’ll be back soon to make new experiences and memories.

Loove you, Mumbai
Vishal
  
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There, dear reader - what did I say... ? Amazing huh? 

Vishal is a freelance journalist and runs the blog Scripting the story of life. He also do book reviews and can be contacted on vishal.v.bheeroo@gmail.com. He stayed in Mumbai for two and half years, is fascinated about Maximum City and calls it his muse. Mumbai is an obsession for him. He is passionate about movies, books and loves writing short stories.

Well, I hope you enjoyed Vishal's journey as immensely as I did? And what do you know: tomorrow is another day, and yet another celebration here in Mumbai... Human pyramids coming up..... Happy Janmashtami everyone! 

Thank you so much Vishal! I am so happy you accepted my invite for a guest blog. It was such a pleasure to have you here.

Ta ta from Mumbai! 

21 comments:

  1. Thank u so much Eli. M honored to write for u and thanks for giving me the opportunity. Our love for maximum city comes through..hehe I am such a great fan of ur observations, mulgi, as Mumbai gals are known.
    Love the way u presented me:)

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    1. My pleasure entirely Vishal - soooo happy you said yes, and then wrote such a moving and amazing post on "our city":-) All the best to you:-)

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  2. Very enjoyable to read about Mumbai through your eyes, Vishal. Sounds like such a vibrant, chaotic, cultural place of great contrast between rich and poor, beauty and ugliness, noise and solitude.

    So touching about the twin sisters always having a smile on their faces despite the tough life they have.

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    1. So happy you enjoyed Vishal's Mumbai, Cathy:-) I did too:-)

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  3. What a great post - makes me want to visit Mumbai some day! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you dear Laurel. Im sure Vishal is happy he is recruiting more people to visit Mumbai:-)

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  4. Even I have lovely memories of Mumbai - the city that influences your senses like no other!

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    1. Well said Renuka:-) Hugs to you

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  5. Mumbai to me, perhaps, is the best city on earth after Hyderabad. Loved your "letter" Vishal!

    Thanks Eli!

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    1. Yay! So happy you loved Vishal's letter dear Vidya:-) Me too ... Something tells me I should visit Hyderabad one day..?:-)

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  6. Woah! Such a wonderful read. It will be a delightful read for all Mumbai-lovers across the world. :)

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    1. So happy you enjoyed Vishal's post- thank you for your kind words - I think u r spot on:-)

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  7. wonderful read... blogging is a lovely world where we make so many friends..

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    1. Happy you enjoyed, Smitha - and yes- so true, my dear friend:-) Hugs

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  8. @Cathy: Mumbai is completely crazy and chaotic..totally loove the madness and guess what makes the city such an addiction. You must visit, at least once:)

    Thanks Laurel. You should visit once and experience the madness.

    @Renuka: Spot on:) These are life long memories in Maximum City and it feels like a dream:)

    Thanks loads Vidya: I couldn't agree more. Arguable, one of the best city. There is no city like Mumbai:)

    Shesha: Thank u so much. The city grows on u like anything:)

    Thanks Smitha for ur lovely words:)

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  9. I am a new entrant into this city, but I have to say I love it. Quite a lot :) Glad to see you here Vishal.

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    1. Happy to see you here Bhavya:-)

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  10. Vishal is a wonderful person! Thanks for the opportunity to feature his writings! It's great to know about your mutual love for Mumbai!

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    1. Thanks Roshi - happy to see you here:-)

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  11. Thanks loads, Bhavya. The feeling is mutual and trust me u'll loove the city:)

    @Roshni: Thanks Roshni, u being very kind to me considering ur such a fab writer. Mumbai rocks:)
    And! Eli! I am taking the liberty to reply to some comments. Hope I am excused for that:)

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    1. Anytime Vishal my friend:-) Feel free:-) Thanks again - awesome!!

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