Mumbai is perhaps every Indian’s urban dream. The ethos of this metro city is an energetic mix of cuisines, food, languages, and cultures. The city-dwellers, frequently labelled as the ‘Mumbaikars’, tip a very fast-paced life. Mumbai not only holds the title of being one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the country, it also promises a foot-tapping, high-adrenaline, distinctive city life to all inhabitants.
Mumbai is not only a metropolitan, it is a city of diversity. It sees an amazing merger of people from various states of India. People from western, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal, and from various states in the magnificent Southern India have inhabited Mumbai for uncountable number of reasons. Mumbai sees people from different cultures and traditions – Be it Gujaratis, Parsis, Kolis, Jains, Hindus from Northern states of India, all have given Mumbai a distinctive edge and account for the intricate patterns of diversity.
At St. Thomas – the Apostle Cathedral in Mumbai, one can probably find Bibles in English and even some new testaments in Hindi and Tamil.Mumbai is not only a home for the rich, but it holds the backing from Kolis, the fisher folks who were the original inhabitants of Mumbai, and who gave the city its beautiful name.
Colaba, the happy heart of SoBo, is home to innumerable “bawas”- the Parsis. Mumbai would not be the same deprived of its Zoroastrian inhabitants. Not just the zest of the city become blander, much of its history would also be mislaid without them. Two Jewish communities, prominently the Baghdadi Jews and the Bene-Israel have been allied with the city from decades – and have also given the metro many of its important landmarks.
Mumbai is also home to the Muslims, the Khojas, Bohras, Memons and several other communities. Drive or run through the by-lanes of Mohammed Ali Road, a street impregnate with their delicacies and fashion, a foretaste of their lives. Where in the world would you find streets lined up with retailers of almost 28 different cultures? The answer is Mumbai. When the Hindus, typically Brahmins from UP, arrived in Bombay they noticed that the city had only a narrow interest in their saucers – as they then existed. They shaped and added yet another colour to Mumbai’s diversity.
The ingeniously business-minded Gujaratis took a long, hard look at the island city and decided to add on to the splurge, initiate, establish and sustain businesses that have been minting money till date. Tucked in the bylanes in Bhuleshwar — among Mumbai’s firstborn wholesale markets — are various Gujarati Shops. Bhuleshwar is the hub for Gujarati traders flogging cloth, steel ware and imitation jewels. It was here that the society’s most famous son, Dhirubhai Ambani, founder of Reliance Industries, once live. The Cotton Exchange — amongst Asia’s oldest commodity trading markets — was also located here. Set up pre- independence, the shop arrests the spirit of the city’s inventive Gujarati community.