India, People, Sharing views

Are you a Mumbaikar?

‘You’re not a Mumbaikar. I am.’ said the girl to me, with more than a hint of pride. The unnecessary directness of her words surprised me slightly. However, since I live in Navi Mumbai and she wasn’t entirely wrong, I agreed with her.

Both technically and not, I’m not a Mumbaikar. I’m not born and brought up here and I did not spend much time here to qualify my insistence on being called or accepted as one (not that I am trying to either).

Ever since I set foot into this city I’ve seen and met many locals who’re quick to use this term, wherever they can, to prove that they belong here. Navi Mumbai, which in reality is an extension of Mumbai and provides better infrastructure, better recreational and other facilities and considerably bigger homes to the so-called Mumbaikars, is also regarded as another planet.

I fail to understand the glamour behind it, if any. What is this oft-repeated term made of?

What and how long does it take for a non-Mumbaikar to become and be called as one with sincerity?

Isn’t ‘I live in Mumbai’ the same as ‘I’m a Mumbaikar’? Or not?

What about the thousands and lakhs of non-Maharashtrian people who’ve been living in this city for years? Are they Mumbaikars too?

8 thoughts on “Are you a Mumbaikar?

  1. To all those Mumbaikars out there -Hey, you are not Lucknowites and you cannot even begin imagining what you are not!

    On the other hand, we all could have done better by being Indians.

    1. Taking pride is one thing, making others feel remorse for it is another. What and where we are is decided by us and also some super-complicated star positioning up there ( I believe in such stuff :-P). It is circumstantial.
      People are a slave to such hollow tags and its implications, don’t you think? And yes, we’re all Indians but probably only out of India. Here, such names take precedence.

  2. I’ve said that many times to people, boasting that “I’m a Bangalorean”, implying that they’re not. Somehow, even though I grew outside of Bangalore and only spent 4 years physically living there, I have always been a Bangalorean. And Bangaloreans agree.
    So yes, you could live in a city for all your life and still not absorb the essence of it, or you could be a local in a month’s time. The mumbaikar is as real as a bangalorean, a delhiite or a lucknowite. You know you’ve become one when you say that you are a mumbaikar and you know you’re right.

    1. Mumbai is a city that accepts everyone with open arms. It is just that the attitude of people is slightly politicised and prejudiced regarding outsiders.
      I like it here and feel like a part of it.I find it amusing when folks back home call me Mumbaiyaa :-P.

  3. Just because someone stays in a particular place doesn’t make them that. I lived in Mumbai for 38 years doesn’t make me own Mumbai or call myself Mumbaikar. Though when Mumbai were group of islands my forefathers owned huge tracts of Bandra. Btw, the patch of land where Kalanagar stands today was reclaimed by my grandfathers orders. Today roads in Bandra are named after them but I will never profess to take ownership of being a Mumbaikar. Similarly now I live in various parts of the world cannot make me part of that place. I know that this whole world is owned by the Divine and I am just a traveller here.

    1. Now that is what I call humility. You belong to a family that has played a very important part in the history of this city and you’re so easily giving up the credit for it!
      In today’s world when almost every country is inhabited by foreign nationals in some or other capacity, I think it is very shallow to consider owning a place. A certain attachment with that place is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean anyone should find hard to share it others.
      Different parts of the world? Seems like you are a traveller. Lucky you. Where all have you been?
      Welcome here 🙂

  4. Taking pride in where one comes from, one’s roots, language, community, country, etc is natural. It defies logic. It just is. Using that to feel part of some vague inner circle is pathetic and small minded.

    1. Hi there…for some silly reason your comment went into spam. Checked it just now…
      I know it is tough to accept any outsider in an inner circle, but it isn’t the outsider’s fault that he belongs to some other place. Everyone wants to be a part of the culture and community he’s living in and this emotion should be respected…

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