Mumbai to Delhi: it’s been a fascinating journey.
I’ve been a pakka Mumbaikar all my life—traveling in the crowded local trains daily from Borivli to Santacruz from the age of ten, munching the mouth watering vada pav at every possible nukkad, to unlimited fun in the monsoons (so what if everything gets really mucky?).
Being from Mumbai had its own ego pampering joys attached to it – like going to our hometown in the holidays only to find a whole gang of people clamoring around you to know more about the Bollywood stars. It made you feel like a star yourself.
I was always proud to be from Mumbai and there couldn’t be another place quite like it.
Then I moved to study in Pune, a neighbouring city with its own charm, lots of two wheelers, and only Marathi in the air. But what impacted me there was not Pune, but Delhi. I encountered a strong breed from another metro: the Dilliwala. A whole gang of fellow hostelites were from Delhi.I got my first taste of a very different bunch of young people whom I felt were from another planet.
But different?—Well, that’s just a diplomatic English way of saying: ‘not good’.
We spent years together with both cities constantly trying to prove their superiority over the other. Mumbai with its far stronger command over English, its carefree attitude, and Delhi with its strong Hindi and aggression. What a strange bunch—and yet in it all, we learnt to love and live together.
Then we parted ways and I came back to my city: my Mumbai
Many years later I felt the Lord give me a heart for the city of Delhi. So responding to that prompting I handed over the responsibilities of the Church I was leading and moved to plant a new Church, a Church that will love and serve the capital.
I was coming to a city I was competing with. A city I did not like. I was coming to make Delhi my city.
And then I was amazed at how good Delhi turned out to be. A city with lush green gardens, air-conditioned Metro, the joy of driving on the fifth gear on wide roads and the super tasty chole kulche.
The aggression was still around and you would miss the cool casual Mumbai culture. But then there were numerous cultural fests, exhibitions, music and food. Delhi began to grow on me. I guess you begin to love the place you call your home.
I now loved both the cities.
And then one day came the IPL.
As a cricket fan I faced the challenge of supporting a team directly linked to my city. Would it be Mumbai Indians or Delhi Daredevils. I loved both the cities. I owe a lot to Mumbai and I have come to serve Delhi.
I had to decide between my history and my future. I chose my future. I chose Delhi.
And I still prefer vada pav.