Moving to Mumbai is hands-down the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my 21 years of existence. After living in the City of Dreams for four months, I like to think that I’ve picked up on a couple Bombayite mannerisms and mentalities, despite having so much more to learn about Bombay and India in general. Mumbai has a place for everyone, no matter where in the world you’re coming from! Here’s how you know you’ve finally transformed from a clueless expat to a full-fledged Mumbaikar (local):
1. You’re comfortable with taking the local train
By now, you’ve become an expert at weaving through crowds to get to the ticket counter. You know exactly which platform to stand on when going from Andheri to CST. And you know that there are carts reserved especially for women – thank goodness. Besides, the drama that goes down between the aunties in them are more entertaining than any TV series you’re currently binge watching on Netflix. *Grabs popcorn*
2. You know the difference between “Mumbai” and “Bombay”
Mumbai is a place. Bombay is a feeling.
3. Autorickshaw drivers no longer attempt to rip you off
Left, lijiye. Rukh jao. Dhire dhire, bhaiya. Right lena. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: A little Hindi goes a long way!
Drivers can tell you’re a long-time expat right off the bat, so you can kiss unnecessarily long, winding auto rides goodbye. Not to mention, you know better than to pay any other amount than what’s displayed on the meter and Google Maps is your BFF.
4. Vada pav is your go-to meal
Be it breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, or supper, vada pavs are a completely viable meal option. And you don’t settle for the ones made in fancy hotels or upscale restaurants. You know that the most delicious “potato burgers” are the ones made on the street.
5. You drink cutting chai like you breathe air
A proper Italian will have an espresso. A proper Mumbaikar on the other hand, will have cutting chai. But unlike Italians, Mumbaikars will take their time to enjoy their signature hot drink, dipping their Parle G crackers into it (because apparently, Bombayites can never have enough sugar)!
Fun fact: Narendra Modi, India’s current prime minister, used to be a chaiwala (tea seller)!
Have you ever moved to a totally different country? How do you know you’ve adjusted to your new home? Let me know in the comments below.