Mumbai is a city that accepts everyone from every corner of the world. And never for once do you feel outsider. There are many things which are amusing for outsiders but common for a Mumbaikar. For instance, measuring distance in minutes than in kilometres, travelling 100 kilometres every day by train, or going for a past midnight walk at Marin Drive, Worli Sea Face or Bandstand like it's the most normal things to do during godforsaken hours.
On Tuesday, Delhi-based journalist Manimugdha Sharma took to his Twitter account and shared his experience with a Mumbaikar who addressed him 'Tu' despite being a complete stranger. “I feel very uncomfortable when a total stranger addresses me as 'Tu'. I was disrespectfully spoken to on a Bombay bus many years ago. I had asked the conductor directions, and he had said, "Tereko aage jake khade hone ka." It was such a turnoff! I have never liked Bombay. (sic),” he wrote on the micro-blogging site.
His post has gone viral and people from all walks are commenting and sharing their experiences with Mumbaikars of what they feel is unacceptable. 32-year-old TV actor Shital Sharma resonates with the instance and shares that she is also one of the victims of 'Tu' in Mumbai. “I have been living in the city for the last seven years but still can't accept someone addressing me 'Tu'. I am from Rajasthan and we address everyone with 'Aap'. I am still fine with 'Tum' but 'Tu' is absolutely disrespectful unless someone is my childhood friend,” says Sheetal.
Shreya Gupta, a media professional from Kolkata finds calling someone with a whistle 'Chhu Chhu' than a name or sir, offensive. “It's very annoying. They call you like you call a dog. Why can't they just say 'bhai sahab' or 'sir', 'bhaiya' or anything but this whistle,” says Shreya but Deepa Rana, an HR professional from Latur intervenes, “This will offend Mumbaikars. You can't call them Bhaiya. They refer it to Biharis who they think should not live in Mumbai.”
The list goes on and Mumbaikars or Bombayites, who otherwise are considered hard-working, cultural, witty, modern, and people who are passionate about their lives and very approachable, can also be hard to understand. Apart from their people dealing, their language too at times is alien to others. Some of the words that you often come across in Mumbai are Pandu, Mamu, Boss, Aye Beedu, Bantay, Waat lag li, Fattu, Jhakaas, Bole To, and so many more which are part of Mumbai's special vocabulary that outsiders may find funny or offensive.
At times, these words sound like nothing short of gibberish to the rest of the country as a modified version of existing words. Slang phrases of a Mumbaikar startle outsiders. However, you find it blending with the city's nuances and its fast-paced life while you pretend you are not amused and find yourself fitting in just fine.
“When I came to Mumbai for the first time in 2010 by train from Delhi and saw Mumbai Central station filled with a lot of people running, I was scared if there was some attack on the station. The guy who came to receive me said it was normal. After 12 years I feel it's normal and when you don's see many people at any station is when you should to be scared. This city never fails to amaze me,” says Anshul Awasthi, a banker by profession.
Pankaj Hemlani, an investment banker still tries to manage with Ragda Panipuri. “I never saw this anywhere. I can't eat Panipuri without 'aaloo ka masala'. Ragda is just not panipuri. I also crave authentic North Indian chaat which you don't find here,” says Pankaj. Mayank Jain finds traffic on the streets amusing and refuses to drive. “I am scared of the BEST buses. They just get in anywhere. I don't see any space on the roads. I quit driving when I came to Mumbai from Delhi in 2017,” says Mayank, a digital marketing expert.
Romal Shenoy, a media professional from Chennai is annoyed with Mumbaikars getting away without any apology. “They don't say sorry when they hit you at the station or on roads. They think it's cool because they have to catch a bus or train. And why everyone is running. Why can't they plan and reach on time? It's basic courtesy to say thank you and sorry but they just walk away as if nothing happened,” says Romal.
While any outsider may find this entire chaos of being a Mumbaikar amusing and annoying, living in Mumbai still comes with privileges – freedom and acceptance like no other city in India. “Absolutely, No matter what. I don't want to live anywhere else. Mumbai offers a lot of struggle but you learn a lot about yourself and you know how to deal with it. Slowly you start taking pride in being a Mumbaikar yourself when you unconsciously call someone 'Tu' and realise, you aren't a North Indian anymore,” says Sheetal.
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