The Great Divide of Mumbai

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The 'Real" Mumbai City Map
The 'Real" Mumbai City Map
The “Real” Mumbai City Map

Having lived in Mumbai all my life, I don’t like it when I get told I’m ‘not really from Mumbai’, because I live too far in the suburbs. And that happens much too often. Especially by people who are born in a relatively older part of Mumbai, with no effort on their part.

When I chose to go to a college that is in ‘town’ – the oldest area of Mumbai – I was told I’m going too far. That I’d be spending too much time travelling and meeting a different set of people altogether. But I was not prepared for the blank look I got when I told these people where I lived.

“But that’s, like, really far! How long does it take for you to get here?”

“An hour”

“Wow, I can’t imagine what I’d do if I had to travel that much to get to college!” they said.

And it’s not just them ‘townies’, most of us are like that. Everyone who lives to the south of us is  cooler, and everyone who lives to our north is by default a loser. It’s the unsaid caste system of Mumbai.

And it doesn’t just end with the townies vs burbies. There are the people who live on the Central line (Ghatkopar, Mulund, Bhandup), who are supposed to be even worse for wear than us poor burbies; and if you’re from New Bombay, may God save you!

Marine Drive, Mumbai
Marine Drive, Mumbai

Even in respective suburbs, everyone knows that if you live in West – you’re bound to feel superior to the ones who live in East. It really never ends. Someone once told me that in the early 80s, there was a proposal to shift all the Government offices (like Mantralaya) to New Bombay. If that would have happened, some people still argue, the city’s nucleus would have shifted and the “town” wouldn’t be as sacred.

I disagree. Even as more and more offices shift towards the “burbs”, even as more and more international clothing brands and the hippest pubs open shop in Bandra – the most iconic pictures of Mumbai are the ones taken from or of Marine Drive, isn’t it?

I’m not taking sides here, but that part of the city is old and beautiful. And while we can all go on dissing ‘townie girls’ and ‘lokhandwala dudes’, it becomes inevitable when you live in a city as vast as ours. London has Soho, New York has Manhattan and Mumbai has SoBo. Simple.

Can we just say, though, that this city we’re all fighting to claim as ours, is still more of a city to the slum dwellers and out-of-towners, than any of us. They’re the ones who come here looking for something when the city takes them in and becomes home for them. We were just born here, they made their choice in coming here and made a place for themselves.

On which side of this divide do you stand? Go on, tell me.

Map Image Courtesy: MapsOfIndia & Marine Drive Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

Post By Ekta Valecha (17 Posts)

Likes writing. Loves reading, too. Also likes cats. And shoes. And Bollywood. And Harry Potter. And food. And her iPhone. And does not judge people who have a Blackberry.

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Ekta Valecha

Ekta Valecha
Likes writing. Loves reading, too. Also likes cats. And shoes. And Bollywood. And Harry Potter. And food. And her iPhone. And does not judge people who have a Blackberry.