When I was moving to Mumbai, a friend told me about what made it different from other cities, "You can live anywhere in the world and never fit in, but Mumbai lives in you."
At the time, those were just lines strung together in a mildly poetic tone about a city that I had never even been able to locate properly on a map. For me, Mumbai conjured images of local trains crowded beyond capacity, a city too fast for people, and a life too enamored by the constant blitz of Bollywood. At a cursory glance, that's what you would glean.
In Delhi, where I come from, the realization of what's underneath would be jarring. Where Delhi is made up of numerous layers, Mumbai gives it to you straight. It's all out in the open for you to see, feel, and take. I could see this even during the first ride from the airport to where I would be living. That's pretty much what my love affair with Mumbai looks like - a collection of firsts that I will always treasure. I am a Delhiite, and here's how I fell in love with Mumbai.
Having stayed in Mumbai, I don't know what it would be without its taxi/auto drivers. Our relationship with them is unique: it's a rapport that's built by sharing stories over the course of a long ride or while stuck in a jam, and a mutual respect for those tales. From braving long gridlocks without so much as a squeak to occasionally sharing a vada-pav, Mumbai's taxi drivers are the epitome of great first impressions.
The first time I stepped foot into the station to catch the local, I almost turned back around and called a cab. The crowd was surging, the pace was faster than I could handle, and there didn't seem to be any air to breathe. Over time, though, the ride in the local became a live-action movie that I enjoyed watching. If you need your dose of good ol' drama, Mumbai locals are the place to go.
While we all have our share of bad days, some are worse than the rest. Living in an unfamiliar city by myself, I can safely that I had a lot of them. The cure? An evening spent looking out onto the sea at Juhu Beach. Here was where a city perpetually in motion stopped to breathe, think about life, and carry on again.
However short a time you spend here, Mumbai is one of the places that 'happens' to you. Despite all its imperfections, the city leaves an indelible mark on all who experience it. A city that goes on no matter the circumstances, keeping us on our toes and inspiring us all to keep chasing our dreams. Nothing is impossible for Maximum Mumbai.
Even after two years of leaving it, the city that is always on the move has held a special place in my heart. So, any excuse to go back and feel its soul moving through me is valid enough. And this year, IDBI Federal Life Insurance Mumbai Half Marathon is giving me a reason to not only celebrate the city's famous rains, but also its indomitable spirit. Watch the video below, learn more about the event here and get ready to celebrate the essence of #MoveMumbai.