Monday, 21 March 2011

A Tale of Two Cities - Mumbai & London…

Mumbai at its full glory

Having lived in Mumbai all my life, it is quite natural that I feel attached to the city. But in my case there has always been more to this attachment. I have been in love with Mumbai since the day I lay my eyes on her. My love reached another level when I was allowed to go out on my own. Since that day I have been exploring and in the process discovering something new about Mumbai every time I go out.

I have loved everything about Mumbai, her glorious past, her architecture, the people, the glamour and most importantly the feeling of being at home. Like most Mumbaikars I complain about the state of roads, the pollution, the noise, the traffic, etc. But if you were to ask me to name a place that is as close to being a paradise as can be, I would immediately say Mumbai. I will even go on record to say that if ever there is a city where I would wish to settle down and eventually die, it is Mumbai.

When I left home last year, apart from feeling sad about leaving my family and friends, I was sad because I was also leaving Mumbai. Unlike those times when it used to be for short vacations, this time I knew I would be leaving her for good. All the memories came flooding back to me in the short time between the plane taxing to the runway and the take-off. The times on local-trains and the black and yellow taxis, eating at road-side stalls, sitting and staring out at the sea on Marine Drive, wading through knee-deep water during one particular monsoon and so much more. The montage of pictures, videos and sounds was simply mind-numbing.

Life at Sheffield has been good and slowly but steadily I have settled in quite well. I like Sheffield for its beauty, peace and I like how life moves about at its own pace here. But this is not a place which I would call home. I always get a feeling that I am living at a holiday resort. There has always been something amiss which I couldn’t put a finger on until 4 days ago.

A class trip presented me with the opportunity to finally visit London. From everything that I had heard, seen and read about London, I had always thought of it to be the Mumbai of UK. What I had not realised was just how right I was in my imagination. As I stepped onto the streets of London, I immediately felt as if I was home. Somehow having left Sheffield that morning I had landed in Mumbai. I was back among the crowds, the hustle-bustle of the city and I loved every tiny bit of it.

The city was buzzing with life. The traffic was endless. There was a purpose in the steps of each person either going to work or going back home after a hard day’s work at office. The buildings were a beautiful blend of ancient gothic and modern architecture. There was a sense of power in the air and authority to the place as if the entire country depended upon this place and it does. The rides on the Underground tube were reminiscent to the countless hours I had spent on the Mumbai local trains. I felt so much at home that for the first hour or so I was busy soaking it all in. Every step that I took reminded me of Mumbai.

The three days that I spent in London flew by at lightning speed. But it has left a lasting impression on me. I have finally found a home away from home. I do not know what the future holds for me and I cannot predict if I will get to live and work at London. All I know is until the day I return to Mumbai, if there is a place where I would love to live and call it my home, it is London. 


  1. Hey Sambi! you got me all the more excited about the london stopover with this post in the blog..its like as if it was made for me ..a teeny weeny glance into what i should expect and what i will get...thanx for this personalised post :P i shall consider it to be so ..haha

  2. A person writing tale of two cities can be called Charles Dickens of the present time. That was a story of several sorrows but this is a story of good feelings. Like the other commenter, I feel like visiting London once. Do not reduce ur speed, increase frequency of ur writings.

    Best wishes.


  3. Mumbai (i still prefer calling it Bombay) has a ton of experiences to offer... I still remember the day we waded through knee deep water and feared for our lives... I hope London gave you some amazing experiences to cherish... From what I read it did leave quite an impact on you... Keep going to places where i have not been and help me see them through your words... Keep exploring and keep writing... And yeah hope your writers block clears our soon... Il try providing some dynamite...

  4. I've neither been to London nor Mumbai.. But that doesn't affect me from visualising what you've written... Nice job!

  5. Thank you Swetha!! I'm glad that you liked the post. & as you said you can visualise both the cities and how I feel about them, then I think I've done my job well!! :)