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With love, from Dilli

Why Mumbai so, asks perplexed dilliwalla

BY VIKAS TRIPATHI

 

My dear Mathew,

Jai Mata Di

Having gone out of touch for a long time now, I am desiring to write you this letter. Very many interesting things were happening to me in this period. I shall explain my experience to you. I think parents and family is doing fine. My family is doing fine also. Yesterday, she was finding herself a new job. 

As you are aware, I was staying in Mumbai for 2 years, ending last year. Very very funny city, and very very funny people. As you do not have idea of the city, I shall tell you about it, also it is very different from Delhi. Saddi Dilli is great, I say and you will be obliged to agree with myself. 

As my family said she wanted to ride an aero plane, I had brought two Business Class tickets, but I did not like it when they told me book my luggage (only 10 suitcases) in a different place. But myself was generous to accept. I did not want to take any panga-shanga you see. 

When I was landing in Mumbai airport, my family was asking me take notice of the slums. “Oh jee, what kind of city is this?? They have jhuggis on the airport also. Imagine what my Canada wali chachi and her Angrez husband going to think when they are landing in the glamorous city of India.” I was agreeing with my family. Why are they having so many jhuggis?? Even when I was taking a taxi, me and family notice so many jhuggis. I came to know on a later date that all the places have slums. Oh ji, even the Posh ilakas have very dirty slums. I have not seen them in sadda GK or Anandlok, and Niti Bagh is saddi Dilli. In my city, slums are existing only is Sheelampur and Shahardra and criminal areas.

I was asking this question to my dear friends Dennis and Gogate about this slum and they are telling me that Mumbai has “greater tolerance levels” and it is “more human”. I agree with them, although I do not understand what they say. But my dear friends are intellectuals. They are reading fat books and watching theatre. Their wives are making Rangolis on their doors. They have culture. They say they are ‘deep thinkers’, not like North Indians. They say so while pulling on their cigarettes. I was also thinking to become a deep thinker by smoking and my family refused to stop talking to me. 

My property dealer was speaking English. It was surprising, my Dilli property dealers Guptaji, Sharmaji and Syamlalji are never speaking English. Me and family like the property dealers but did not like the houses. Toba-toba, how can you pay so many thousands to live in a house smaller than a servant quarter? But I was forced to live in a servant quarter as it was too expensive rent. In Dilli we are calling servant quarter and DDA LIG flat, what they are calling 1 BHK and 2 BHK in Mumbai. I am not asking my deep thinker friends about house because they feel hurt. They are also living in 1 BHK. 

I also noticed that all people in Mumbai are eating on streets. They are eating one bun and an aaloo-tikki and walking to their office. They are calling it vada pao. Here in saddi Dilli, I only get bread pakoda which only the Bihari labour is eating. In Mumbai, everybody is drinking so much chai. Arre baba, I am thinking why are people earning money? We earn to eat good. If you are not eating family made parathas in the morning and taking to lunch also, what is the use of earning for money? I am asking this to my intellectual friends and they are saying “Mumbai is city on the move”, also “We don’t care about food as much as you North Indians”, also “We don’t have time, that is why we eat while walking”. I think what my friends are saying is right as me and family find is very surprising that the food even in good Restaurants in Mumbai is not as good as Delhi. So many Madrasis are living in Mumbai, even then in Mumbai you are not getting as good South Indian food as you are getting in Sagar, Navaidyam and Neelgiri Restaurant in Delhi. My intellectual Madrasi friend Dennis gets very angry and tells me “I am not Madrasi. I am from Kerala”. I am always thinking all the people from South India speaking funny language are Madrasis, but I say sorry to him. 

In Mumbai, they are having too many beer and wine shops. In Delhi, we are only having one Govt. Beer and Wine shop in a big area and people are fighting to buy their whisky. But liquor in Mumbai is much more expensive than Delhi. Mumbai is also having many bars. It is good to have many bars. Like in Delhi we are not having many cheap bars, so the Mehras, Chadhas and Manchandas are sitting in their cars and drinking. Very corrupt gentry. 

Mumbai is also having bars with ugly dancing girls. My family was saying that Mumbai girls are not good looking. When I say this to my intellectual friends, they tell me “But Mumbai girls have oomph, and they are smart”, they also say “They have intelligence and are not so dumbly beautiful as your North Indian girls”. I am not conveying their reaction to my family. 

I am having much to write but I am cutting a sorry figure for the lack of time. I will write about my other experience later. 

Please convey my respect to prajai-ji and jhappi to Chotu. 

Your true Friend,
Vikas Tripathi

 

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