Despite the fact that I’m mostly lonely and bored once I’m there, I’m always anticipating my next visit to Mumbai. There are the obvious reasons for my anticipation: good food, lots of family, warm weather. But what really attracts me to the city is the fact that it’s a change from my daily life in New York. While Mumbai and New York have their similarities — like being overpopulated to the point where people are on top of one another (but much more in Mumbai than in New York), being diverse, and always being on top of the modern trends of the world — Mumbai is still a contrast. For me, Mumbai has become that temporary resort where life is simpler.
I guess this is most evident when it comes to food. In New York, eating out has become commonplace. If we’re hungry and its our lunch break, we’ll go and eat out without ever thinking about it. However, in India, eating out is somewhat of a big deal. Eating out or even eating food that isn’t your daily, staple Indian food is an occasion solely reserved for Sundays, when guests visit, holidays, and birthdays. Otherwise, it is the same food every day.
And unlike here, where we are surrounded by GMOs and processed food items, everything in Mumbai is fresh, and hardly any food is refrigerated. To be honest, the fridge is practically useless. I’ll never forget the shock my cousins had when they came to New York and saw that I casually had soda in my fridge.
On a similar note, life in Mumbai is also more economical. In India, we usually turn on the water supply in the morning, take our showers, fill up water bottles and jugs with water for the day, and then turn most of our water supplies off. WiFi is only turned on if we need it for work. When we get food that’s packaged in plastic containers (such as yogurt), we reuse those containers to store other food rather than throwing them away. At the end of the day, we only used what we needed, and we made sure to make the most out of everything we bought.
The most important aspect of life in Mumbai is that it’s become my temporary electronic detox. With limited WiFi access, I’ve been able to actually interact with the people I’m around, enjoy my short experience in the city, and live in the present. And I guess it’s this short window of time, in which I have no worries and I can just live in the moment, that I love so much about Mumbai. It’s a hiatus from the bustling life of New York, and before I know it, my days of playing outside with my five year old cousin are over, and I have to go back to eating the crap we all call American food.