Saturday, June 18, 2022

Delhi to Mumbai - Pao Bhaji to Vada Pao


Image only to grab your attention

I live in Delhi/NCR, a place most of us claim to hate but nobody really moves out. We crib all through summer, winter and every other day the sun rises in the east but ultimately accept the city, warts and all. Tedha hai par mera hai.

Change, they say, is the only constant. Son is moving to Mumbai and I will now flirt with Mumbai - a city I have evaded for half a century. All I have seen is the Bandra gym visited by Malaika Arora on Instagram. 

Anyway, I’m now going to disown all the twitter fights between Delhi and Mumbai I’ve so valiantly fought. No more Mumbai winter jokes. Who said Mumbai winter is like having diet coke or green tea instead of the real thing? No, I never said Delhi has AC metro, wide roads and you can buy a fancy car and actually drive it.

I’ve convinced myself that Mumbai will now have a special place in my heart like my triglycerides. Because humidity is nothing but God’s way of helping us lose body weight by sweating.

Once decided, house hunting in Mumbai during monsoon is your worst torment. The fact that you are from Delhi does little to help. Your reputation trumps everything. Brokers expect you to say, ‘BC, Good morning, how are you MC?’ They assume you wear ‘sungoggals’ for a dinner party with ‘Choti Dress Me Bomb Lagdi Mainu’ blaring from your car stereo. Others think you are related to a thug named Khurana from Khosla ka Ghosla.

But wait. 

Shed your swag because a lot has changed over the years.

Today if you go to Mumbai and say, "Janta nahi mera baap kaun hai?" you are likely to get, "Tu bhi pitega aur tera baap bhi pitega."

Like most middle class chipku mothers, I’ve been involved in the search of an elusive Mumbai apartment. To begin with, the demand supply ratio in certain areas is as skewed as Kangana’s equation with a man whose name rhymes with JLo.

Regardless, you save telephone numbers of an assortment of brokers and ask broker A.

Me: Show me something in this area, kuch hai?”

A: Hain na, D 406 hai.

You’ve seen the house twice so you ask broker B.

Me: Do you have anything in this area?

B: Hain na D 406 hai.

Same story with C, D and E.

Finally when the broker takes you to D 406, three different couples are checking the same house at the same time. By the time your wife is scrutinising the kitchen chimney, the broker asks you to leave. Hello, what happened? He was pumping up sunshine five minutes ago and now he’s all cold and distant.

“It’s taken,” he says. “The man in green shirt has paid advance.”

“But they came after us,” you insist. “They haven’t even seen the kitchen.”

“Sir, they paid,” he shrugs. “You took too much time.”

Multiple emotions gush through your mind like a gutter during rains. You return back to Delhi with a moving date but no house in hand.

One Sunday, the broker gives you a call. He wants you to see an apartment on a video call. This time you try not to bicker about missing balconies or absent storage. As a supportive mother, we agree that balconies are a waste. Why pay for pigeon love-making area? Anyway, all we do from our Gurgaon balconies is watch an approaching dust-storm or the neighborhood hottie dry her towel.

“What’s the view like? Is that a slum?” you ask.

“Sir, baju me hai. Baarish me nahi dikhega.”

By now, it makes sense to reconcile that Chicken Kohlapuri is way healthier than Butter Chicken. Not to forget possibilities of resolving your existential crisis on Marine Drive, driving to Lonavala over the weekend, running on the beach like Urmila Matondkar wearing Tiger’s daddy’s baniyan and looking at a real working rickshaw meter!

More often than not, you have one kill joy friend who cannot stop from saying, “Bhai kyo jaa raha hai? For this money, you could have moved in a villa in Gurgaon, no?

Once you have a house, you defend Mumbai like Prithviraj Chauhan defended his land from Mohd Ghauri.

“Big cities have small houses. Have you ever lived in London or Tokyo? Plus Mumbai has genuine friends who support no matter what.”


Tedha Hai Par 


Mera Hai.


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