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Mumbai 2011-Part 1


Mumbai -- A name synonymous with a fast paced life in a crowded street, which can put New York City to shame with all it’s glitter and glam. Mumbai is a place where I grew up and a city that I always will call “Home”. From the past nine years, I have lived in a land far removed from all the blitz and the crowd that is associated with living in any big metropolitan city of the world. I often visit Mumbai - but it’s not that often as I would like to visit. I always look forward to go there, and every time when I come back from Mumbai, there is always a feeling of, well how do I say it -- “Home Sickness”.

Mumbai has changed a lot in the past nine years. Every time I go back, I always have a question - “What makes Mumbai tick and move forward for more than 22 million “official” Mumbaities even with its limited resources at it’s disposal? A lot of things are broken in terms of infra-structure, the society, the rising inflation, the smell of politics and corruption, the school education and the teacher/student ratio and yet you have 5000 new people from different parts of India embracing Mumbai every single day. With all it’s faults, Mumbai still offers tremendous value proposition for hard working Indians. It’s still a place where one can open a road side stall and with proper skills can make his life worth. Growing up we heard so many success stories of people opening a road side snack (vada-pav) stall, coming from a remote village and ending up owning multiple apartments/condos. Such success stories were very common and still is. The only change is that today, with the rehabilitation/reconstructions of the old Mumbai to new high rise building dominated Mumbai has made few people millionaires without having to do anything. One road return trip from Bandra to Worli via the new sea link would give you a starking landscape nowhere to be seen.


Mumabi sealink - A 8 KM stretch between Bandra and Worli with a final cost of more than $1.1 billion dollars

Sea link, a project that was started way back in 1990s as part of Bandra reclamation expansion and then to a road that was to bridge the gap between Bandra and Worli a 8 KM stretch with initial budget of $380 million with an end date of 2004. Various reason (although the sole reason was pretty common -- Money -- everyone wants money), ended up by 2009 and the final budget cost around $1.1 billion dollars. It was an expensive project, but a project that definitely help the traffic cut down from 45 minutes to 10 minutes. It also got the concept of Tolls in Mumbai city.

The road to get to the sea link is where one would see a different landscape. If you are traveling from Worli to Bandra, you are passing through huge high rises and some pretty nice and big bungalows, on a road we all know as Worli sea-face. A beautiful stretch of highway right next to the ocean. That gives you one landscape, as the bridge approaches, you’ll notice slums and more slums. Once on the bridge, you’ll see one of the best view of Mumbai city and it’s upcoming high-rise. The bridge itself is an engineering marvel - both during the day time and during the night time when it’s lit up. As soon as the 8 KM stretch ends, you’ll see slums on either side of the road. The last I heard and read was that builders/politicians wants to clean them and build high rise there too -- but the asking price of almost 350000 US$ for 200 sq.ft. land of property  from the owners of the slums was pretty steep for builder to take on. I can say that, the owners are not worried to sell the properties right now. They know that they are in a prime location and would get their asking price - if not today, then tomorrow for sure.



Slum near Mumbai sealink

This is one example of a complete landscape change within a block or two of the redevelopment effort happening in every single corner of India.

Mumbai airport -- Every time I went there, I got a glimpse of different India. The airport is always under construction and always expanding. There are documents that are approved for Mumbai to get its second International airport 27 kms away from the existing one. Even the landing is awesome experience. India has made rapid strides in technology and it’s mobile user trumps the landlines user by almost 2:1. I was shocked this time around that they got rid of all the Public Telephone booths from the airport! I am sure, I  was looking for a local public booth and I couldn't find one. I guess it’s expecting tourist and it’s own people to carry a cell phone.

Mumbai is changing and changing at a rapid pace. It’s people are dynamic and they are adapting quickly and easily to a free and new India. The young generation has a different thought process then their counterparts from a decade old. In many respect Mumbai has changed -- but the essence of people is still the same.

More on Mumbai -- Later.




Comments

  1. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u




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