(Since I have been missing Mumbai for the past few weeks, this is just to show my love for city!)

Mumbai personifies me. It has every value I seek in life. Its character is very similar to what I believe mine to be and definitely something I aspire to be. Mumbai seems to love the same values that I love and therefore, has a culture that promotes such values. I’ll show you how.

I love my independence. I love being able to walk out of the house whenever I want. I love the efficient public transport system which allows me to access any part of the city at any time during the day (or night). I love not having to depend on a male friend to escort me home if it gets even slightly late. I love the local trains and the BEST buses. I love being connected! I love my parents not checking on me every half-hour.

I love my freedom. I love not being fleeced by auto-wallahs as everyone uses the meter. I love the opportunities Mumbai offers, I love the ‘Yes, we can’ feeling I get here. I love the fact that people just let me be. I love the fact that Mumbai does not have a suffocating atmosphere. I love the ‘Live and let live’ attitude of Mumbaikars. I love the fact that there is no place in Mumbai I cannot go to because its ‘unsafe’. I love the fact that people mind their own business but are more than willing to help you if you need them.

I love my work. I love Mumbai’s strong work-ethic. I love the ultimate professionalism that Mumbaikars have. I love the work-aholism. I love the ‘nothing-is-impossible’ feeling within the people. I love the fact that you constantly need to evolve and upgrade yourself to be happy in this city. I Love the fact that the city never lets you stagnate I love the hard work that every Mumbaikar puts into his job. I love the competitive spirit. I love the ambition of the people. I love the numerous rags-to-riches stories. I love the discipline of the people. I love the work-comes-first attitude. I love looking at determined, focussed people rushing to their jobs. I love the hard-working, multi-tasking middle class.

I love my time. I love the mornings which begin very early. I love the nights which end very late. I love the levels of productivity. I love the fact that there seem to be more hours in a day in Mumbai because the shops, the public transport and the people  get up early and sleep late. I love the number of things you can fit into one day. I love being able to make time for everything-study, play, internet, reading, phone, newspapers, music etc-in a day. I love being able to work all day and still manage to find some time somewhere for myself. I love watching women cut vegetables in the train, increasing the time they can relax at home. I love ‘Amar Juice Centre’ which is a haven for midnight snacks (even if it half an hour away-its Mumbai!) I love the men on bicycles with coffee, eggs and sandwiches who become saviours in the middle of the night.

I love the buzz. I love the fact that the city never sleeps. I love looking at the blur of colour as people rush past me. I love the action-packed, fast-paced life. I love the night-life. I love Ganesh Chaturthi and its madness. I love the nine nights of Garba. I love the way every single festival is celebrated here. I love the way the communities come together and enjoy. I love the warmth of the people. I love seeing complete interact like they’ve known each other for ages. I love the concept of train-friends. I love Bollywood. I love not being star struck because stars are so common-place. I love the little squabbles people have on the local trains. I love the concerts that happen here. I love the fact that the glamour industry is right here.

I love spirit. I love the ‘never-say-die’ spirit which withstands natural and terrorist calamities. I Love the ‘get-up-and-move-on’ spirit which ensures that the city is up and on its feet within 24 hours of any calamity. I love the unity amongst the people. I love the way strangers become friends during trying times. I love the strength of the city to bounce back after every single disaster. I love the ‘thenga’ Mumbai shows to every element trying to de-stabilize it. I love the simplicity and the honesty of the people. I love the unpretentiousness of the people. I love the way people can’t be bothered to show off. I love the substance people in Mumbai have. I love the energy inside a chawl. I love the hopes and dreams of the chawl and slum-dwellers and the fact that they are all realistic in Mumbai. I love the way people like to lead chilled-out lives. I love the way men give their seats to a student who is studying for his exams in a local train. I love Mumbai’s confidence, its pride in its achievements and the constant desire to reach for higher stars.

I love the little things in life. I love the beach. And the rains. I love tucking into a samosa-pav/dosa/pani-puri by the roadside. I love walking at midnight. I love standing on the footboard of the trains and feeling the wind in my face. I love looking the city through a double-decker bus and watching the old and the new merge. I love looking at the Bandra-Worli sea-link and feeling proud of my city. I love Esselworld!

But do I love the city because of its particular character or do I love the character because I was born and brought up in the city? Do I value independence, freedom, professionalism, the ‘never-say-die’ spirit because these are values I was taught and I grew up with? Or do I love the city because it has all the values I seek in entities I choose to like? If I am not all that afraid of travelling in the dark, is it because of a quality I possess (irrespective of the city I grew up in) or because I never knew fear on the streets of Mumbai? Is it me or is it Mumbai? Any answers?