According to a recent survey, Mumbai is the third cheapest city in the world based on cost of living!! Surprising, especially when buying a house (about 700-800 sq ft) here can easily set one back by a crore of rupees!!!
But there are many good things about Mumbai. When I moved to Mumbai post my marriage six years ago, I had been forewarned by my husband about the pollution and the population of Mumbai. He said if I could look beyond the two 'P's then I would love to live in Mumbai. He was right. Initially, I was overwhelmed by the population of Mumbai. At any time of the day or night, one can always see people rushing to their destinations. There are people everywhere!! Also Mumbai can be very very dirty especially during the rainy season. This was further proved by the deluge of 26th July 2005 when I had to wade through chest-deep water to reach home from work! It was barely a month and a half since I had stepped foot in Mumbai and hardly two weeks at my first job. Then there were the train bombings in 2006, terrorist attack in 2008, waterlogged roads almost every monsoon, so on and so forth. But despite all this, I LOVE Mumbai. The people here may not have time to look at each other, may be emotionally unattached, but will always help when asked. Another thing I like about this city is that one can never lose one's way around Mumbai and I can vouch for that! There have been times when I have had to travel to distant places alone, for work, but never faced any difficulty in reaching my destination. The best person to ask for directions is the Paan-wala.
Rickshaw drivers will NEVER cheat. They may refuse to ply to shorter distances, but never charge extra. At least in the last six years of my life here, I have never ever come across someone who did that to me.
Fruit and vegetable markets especially in places like Borivali (where we reside), Dadar, Vashi etc are so enticing because of the freshness and the low costs of the products. My Mom who is not very comfortable with the crowded Mumbai, would very happily visit the market any day! The markets are full of the best seasonal fruits and vegetables along with the regular ones. Exotic food products such as imported fruits and vegetables as well as some seasonal ones which are native to my hometown of Mangalore are galore. True, inflation is hitting us middle class very hard, but when fresh food products are available in abundance, it softens the blow.
It is very safe to travel, even at night, especially because of the local trains. There have been some instances of crime but then every city has its share of it. Nothing new in Mumbai. Every city has its pros and cons, so does Mumbai! But when we compare it to any other city in India, nothing matches to Mumbai!! Maybe it is the Mumbaikar in me speaking, but yes I am proud to be a Mumbaikar and proud to say, we are cheap!!