Delhi Vs. Mumbai. From the perspective of an (ex) Bombay lover.
You want a conversation starter at any party in either of these cities?
A Delhi Vs. Mumbai debate has the success rate of Vladimir Putin running for whatever the fuck he chooses to run for.
Given that I was living in Mumbai for a month pretty recently, have assembled a few talk points here to assist my very many regular readers (the size like that of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration: debatable) should they find themselves in a duel of this nature.
The name. Call me a snot-nosed South Bombay suck up, but what in the world was wrong with Bombay?
How would you feel if your friend Harry Sandhu was suddenly renamed Hridayprakash Bhatia after about 40 years of living as the former?
Disconcerting, downright unnecessary and emotionally turbulent.
If I’ve got my memory still functional, someone tried some “Indraprastha” stunt with Delhi at some point in time. But Delhiites treated that move with as much respect, as they do traffic rules.
But then I might have spoken too soon, and Delhi might get a BJP government in a bit. Trust me, I know.
Writing this from “Gurugram”.
Delhi 1 – Mumbai 0
The infrastructure. Mumbai is the financial capital of the country. However you compare the roads, it feels like the country likes to earn in Mumbai, and spend in the NCR.
“Space”, the Mumbai folks will scream here.
Listen boss, there’s something known as flyovers. Also, let me tell you about the concept of underpasses. The former is roads OVER roads and the latter is roads UNDER roads.
Come to “Gurugram” sometime, and we’ll give you a bit of a demo.
But then you’re saved the sight of people on top of expressway fences, with the spikes on top precariously close to their ass-cracks.
The foot-bridges are only to protest for, when they’re not there.
Still. Delhi 2 – Mumbai 0
The traffic. Dear Mumbai, your roads anyway have the average width of a rural pathway, and then you decide to clog it like the lungs of a Delhi citizen with massive buses, trucks, and even heavy construction machinery in peak traffic hours?
The NCR has wide roads, and now, shockingly more common sense, so to ban entry of heavy vehicles in peak hours. But you guys couldn’t give a damn right?
Your traffic police is much like a medic trying to keep alive, a man with a stab wound insistent on gouging it with a shit stained finger
Delhi 3 – Mumbai 0
The air. Looking out my window, barely making out the fuzzy outlines of a building some fifty meters from my house in Gurgaon (yes, to hell with that “Gurugram” nonsense), I’ve got to say that Mumbai’s got it WAY better. Even on the worst days you can see one end of the sea-link from the other.
Let’s not look elsewhere but at the capital’s CM, who’s probably got a more defined six-pack than a gym nut, all from coughing all day long.
Surprising bit is the lack of concern about the pea-soup-air among the citizenry. Even the enthusiastic baby poppers.
At this rate, you’d be able to tell a Delhiite from people living in other parts of the country simply by the 300X density of nasal hair, and the breathing pattern of a small dog in peak summer months
Delhi 3 – Mumbai 1
Public transport. Mumbai, you had the edge for SO damn long. And then Delhi got the girl with the scout cap. The Delhi Metro is spreading faster than corruption in a new congress government, and even though we have 1/100th the humidity of your city, Delhi Metro is air-conditioned and comfortable for most months of the year.
The rest of the discomfort too owing not to structural of design faults, but to probably most of us being allergic to deodorants (can there BE any other reason?)
The Ubers / Olas here too are cheaper, and not on perpetual surge. Paying 300 bucks for a 6 kilometer trip, after waiting 45 minutes in the cab, to spend another 90 minutes in it was one of the very few things I was thankful for, when I was forced to leave the city.
So VERY clearly, Delhi 4 – Mumbai 1
The people. I decided to walk from Prabhadevi to Jacob’s Circle after work one day. Stupid call, I know. However, starved halfway through I stopped at a Vada-pao shop which was pretty crowded. Even by Mumbai standards.
Extending my arm trying to get the vendors attention, I managed a rough shoulder brush with another guy standing right next to me. He smiled and made sure I got my food before him.
I am not even willing to TRY that in these parts. At the very least, I’m gonna get stabbed in the eye with a rusted screwdriver.
People in Mumbai for the most part are courteous, friendly and helpful. Delhi on the other hand feels like it’s heavily saddled with the invader gene pool. Our default mode in playing life is Fight Club.
Show me the last boxing / wrestling champ who came from your part of the woods. Hell even the captain of our national cricket team is in perpetual MMA pre-match mode. And guess where he comes from?
Delhi 4 – Mumbai 5 (yep)
The cost of living. My sister lives in an apartment that cost more than the GDP of a small nation. And it ends as soon as it starts. Shit’s so bad that people have to rush to the nearest sea face if they want to stretch their arms after waking up. And then too, you might have one hand smacking a running junior Ambani, and the other stroking the chins of a kissing couple.
Everything costs more. WAY more. A drink costs more than a wine shop elsewhere, and a night out will have Donald Trump claiming that I will fund his border wall
A month in Mumbai had my Belvedere swigging ass, look at a bottle of Magic Moments longingly. And even then, I didn’t have the courage to buy it, cuz all the wine shops look like they sell adulterated industrial spirit.
I worked with a craft beer brand, and it hurt me more to drink that as a decently paid manager, than it does fine bourbon as an unemployed bum in Delhi.
Delhi 6 – Mumbai 5 (Quality over quantity. Any given day.)
So Mumbai, as much as I loved you, and would like to come back for a longer stint one day. It’ll take nothing short of making rockstar money that’d do it for me.
Till then I’ll drive my mid-sized faux-SUV at speeds it was meant for, while you crawl your supercars at the speed of smell.