I got his point of view pretty well. Since Manu had spent his teens and tweens in Bombay (he refused to say Mumbai) it was pretty natural for him to say he love Bombay. But his extreme dislike for Delhi was pretty uncalled for! But he did go to explain that as well. Now, as someone who is from Kolkata, I found the entire conversation very amusing. I decided I could be an impartial judge of this situation and taking into account that I have friends from Mumbai and Delhi, I decided to do a bit of background research. The conversation between all of us twisted into another direction when Bangalore came into picture and it was even more amusing for me to watch my friends forget their hatred for each other’s city and turn unanimously against Bangalore!
With a teensy bit of consideration and in good taste, I pen my observations not to start a war but because maybe we all can learn something from this mindless bitter-batter and because it cost me a few cups of coffee and a night’s sleep as my friends kept fighting till four in the morning.
Mumbai and Delhi being two very old cities have developed a heritage. With time each city grew its own character and spread its wing into different direction. The core point upon which the intellectuals from Delhi and Mumbai fight upon are that Mumbai is natural city where as Delhi is a created city. Mumbai like any other great port city has developed gradually. Taking its own time to turn from a fishing village to a fishing port to a Cosmopolitan hub. Delhi on the other was created to be power center. Delhi was created from scratch as a capital city. It was created to be the center of governance. It is created as a city unlike Mumbai, which turned into a city from a fishing village.
Due to this very basic difference, there rose a change of mindset among people. According to Mumbaikars, Delhites are too prone to having things their own way and are obnoxiously arrogant. The capital makes all its residents feel that they have a natural right to look down upon everyone else. Everyone from Delhi thinks that he/she is an intellectual and has a right to opinionate. Then comes the mindless boasting. Delhi has lots of pretense where everyone has to support a cause or behave as if he/she is next big social activist. You have to be political in Delhi or at least have an opinion. The power center makes all its residents to be drawn towards power. They keep announcing how one had dinner with that personality and met this other big shot and no one knows how much it is true!
Delhi, on the other hand, hates how Mumbai is too casual on everything. They hate how Mumbai loathes Delhi and the fact that Mumbai laughs at anybody who calls himself/herself. Mumbai for some reason is too shabby. People in Mumbai discuss the prices of vegetable more animatedly than pondering upon the power plays of politics. Delhites hate how Mumbaikars make local train timings more important an issue than nuclear bombings. For Delhi, the entire attitude of Mumbai comes down to one fact – “I don’t care.”
My friends from Delhi pointed out that how Mumbai lacks style. They felt that even though Mumbai is highly fashion conscious and is always tuned to the latest pulse of fashion, but for some reason all this is done too mindlessly. Mumbai fashion starts from St. Xavier’s and even before one can wink, the look is copied by the entire city. Delhi on the other hand has a sense of selectivity. They don’t wear everything and are proud of the Delhi style of dressing… the kurtas, khadi, heavy eye makeup and junk jewelry. Where as in Mumbai everyone is in tees and jeans with a backpack!
This bickering went on forever and with each point I could see the fierce pride in their words and faces.
Then most carefully I mentioned Bangalore and when it came to Bangalore, they both hated everything. They felt that Bangalore has nothing if you remove the shiny malls. The only big city from the state of Karnataka has no landmark and no history… as a result no heritage. Overnight, it has become the silicon valley of India and people from the rest of the country rushed in. It turned into a city filled with outsiders who are too modernized but the local population still copes to deal with the modernization. They agreed that Bangalore turned into a city too quickly and the people are too nouveau riche.
With that loathing of Bangalore, I realized how satisfied Delhi and Mumbai felt! Amused still, I was wondering if the next time, I would invite Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai too into the conversation. Maybe I will… But in that case, I will surely have the police and ambulance pre-informed… Because you never know!