I Heart My City: Jasmine’s Mumbai

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus), was completed in 1888. (Photograph by Shreyans Bhansali, Flickr)

Born-and-bred Mumbaikar Jasmine Desai is a technology journalist — and, like the subject she covers, her city is constantly changing. Though she’s the first to admit it’s not the “relatively quiet place” it once was, there’s a method to the madness…if you know what to look for. “No place is as random as Mumbai — from its people to its traffic to its slums,” she says. “But in the midst of this chaos, there is still a melodious rhythm to it all.” Here are a few of Jasmine’s favorite things about the sprawling cityscape she calls home.

Mumbai is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is Juhu Beach.

The view from Marine Drive. (Photograph by Nicolas Mirguet, Flickr)

The view from Marine Drive. (Photograph by Nicolas Mirguet, Flickr)

Winter is the best time to visit my city because the weather’s not too humid and Diwali, Christmas, and Holi celebrations take over town.

You can see my city best from the street. Whether you’re walking or in a vehicle, every lane is buzzing with life.

Locals know to skip Bombay Bazaar and check out roadside markets instead.

Colaba Causeway is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.

In the past, notable people like Dadasaheb Phalke, J.R.D. Tata, and Mukesh Ambani have called my city home.

My city’s best museum is Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum of Western India) because it recently showcased Egyptian mummies.

If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s that street names here change very often. Always double check the addresses before heading out.

The best places to spend time outdoors in my city are the seaside coffee shops and eateries in Bandra or on Marine Drive.

A vegetable vendor at Crawford Market. (Photograph by B Furnari, Flickr)

A vegetable vendor at Crawford Market. (Photograph by B Furnari, Flickr)

My city really knows how to celebrate life because even after a riot or a terrorist attack, the next day you’ll find people going about their lives in a normal way.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they know why Bombay changed its name to Mumbai.

For a fancy night out, I go to the Palladium.

Just outside my city, you can visit the Khandala, Lonavala, or Matheran hill stations.

My city is known for being glamorous but it’s really honest.

The best outdoor market in my city is Crawford Market.

Shiv Sagar is my favorite place to grab breakfast, and Venky’s is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read Time Out Mumbai.

My city’s biggest sports event is ODI cricket. Watch it at Wankhede Stadium. The Mumbai Marathon is also not to miss.

Dabbawalas deliver hundreds of thousands of meals to workers around Mumbai each day. (Photograph by Phip_s, Flickr)

Dabbawalas deliver hundreds of thousands of meals to workers around Mumbai each day. (Photograph by Phip_s, Flickr)

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go shopping on Hill Road in Bandra. Or, if I’m hungry, I might stop by one of the many roadside stalls selling chaat.

To escape the crowds, I go to Mount Mary Church or Crossword Bookstores.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be Madhuri Dixit because her dazzling and open smile pretty much reflects the attitude of Mumbai.

The dish that represents my city best is vada pav, and chai is my city’s signature drink.

The legendary Taj Mahal Palace hotel is my favorite building in town because it’s symbolic to Mumbai.

The most random thing about my city are the dabbawalas and vendors who hawk on board local trains. They sell absolutely everything — even cookware!

Chai: Mumbia's signature drink. (Photograph by Garrett Ziegler, Flickr)

Chai: Mumbia’s signature drink. (Photograph by Garrett Ziegler, Flickr)

Hard Rock Cafe is the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out Zenzi Mills.

Bollywood could only happen in my city.

There are only three seasons in Mumbai:

In the summer, you should wear lots of sunscreen and eat anything flavored with fresh mango.

In the rainy season, you should walk on flooded roads and sip hot chai.

In the winter, you should be ready to celebrate weddings, Diwali, and a plethora of other festivals, like Kala Ghoda.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss Essel World.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahan.

In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because it’s a city with random stories at every turn. It changes every minute.

I Heart My City: Jasmine’s Mumbai Bandra , bombay , Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya , christmas , Colaba Causeway , Crawford Market , Crossword Bookstores , Dadasaheb Phalke , Diwali , Essel World , Hill Road , hill stations , Holi , india , J.R.D. Tata , Jasmine Desai , Juhu Beach , Kala Ghoda , Khandala , Lonavala , Madhuri Dixit , Marine Drive , Matheran , Mount Mary Church , Mukesh Ambani , mumbai , Mumbai Marathon , ODI cricket , Palladium , Taj Mahal Place hotel , Venky’s Shiv Sagar , Wankhede Stadium , Zenzi Mills

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