What did I get myself into? That was the question when I was told by my wife we were going to Mumbai around 6 months ago. The reason I gave in after being prodded by her for nearly a few years to go to India was due to the cheap Air Asia tickets of RM500++ for 2 persons. India was their new destination then and a friend of my wife asked whether we wanted to go Mumbai with her. My excited wife asked me and we were the holder of 2 tickets to Mumbai.
There was supposed 3 other people with us going to Mumbai but due to certain unforeseen circumstances, in the end, there were only the two of us. We settled the visa to India at the last minute, booked a hotel room at a 5-star hotel with good rates thanks to the internet and we booked a free-and-easy tour. We talked to people about what to expect. First to the skeptics who keep on saying that we must be mad going to India then to those who know their way there. All these people had went to Mumbai either for business and pleasure and we get both side of the story.
Due to the skepticism that sets in, we packed a whole bag of medicine (adding more than our usual medicine supply which we always bring with us). For all the third world countries disease like malaria and diarrhea. Alhamdulillah, we never needed any of the medicine.
So, the question that needed to be answered. Is India that bad? My answer is no. I love being in Mumbai. What do I love about it?
1) The food : You will know why spices are so important in cooking when you are in Mumbai. Everything about India is food. It is so good that it can practically bring tears to your eyes. There are the fresh breads of various kinds, the curry-like gravy which are 100 times potent than curry and the chillies. Someone said I would be surprised at the smell of Mumbai but when I came out of the Mumbai International Airport, what I immediately felt hungry. The right word for it is "Yummmeeeeehhhh......!";
2) The people : They are all talkative. Some do have the look of, who the hell are you to ask me about my country but I will enlightened you nonetheless. And they talk at the same time whilst understanding each other. Being back in Malaysia, my noisy office seems quiet by comparison. The best word to describe them : Colourful;
3) The architecture : I am still in awe with the most expensive home cum personal office in the world with 3 helicopter landing pads own by the owner of Reliance Group of India. As for the other parts of India, I am at a marvel as colonial building mixed it up with art deco building. Even the abandoned buildings around the city are amazing. I have to remind myself to look down whilst walking as I was too engrossed with the buildings;
4) Shopping : The food, the clothes, the material for clothing, the books and even the movie tickets price are cheap. Super cheap. I ate two plate of briyanis with drinks and dessert for RM8-00. I bought a book for RM15. We went to see Thor in 3-D, with premium seats by just paying RM21. If you love shopping, you can do no wrong with Mumbai or India for that matter;
As with any travel, there are cons to it. The time we were there, it was quite hot. So hot that you may will keep on looking for air-conditioned places. Certain part of Mumbai is quite dirty but after living in Malaysia which is not THAT clean in contrast with other cities I have been to, I can accept this fact. As we chose a hotel which is quite far from the city center, we have to travel a bit and the traffic jam was quite bad but what city in the world doesn't have that problem nowadays. Oh, the noise pollution is bad too but again, I live in the city, so I don't mind that.
My assessment of Mumbai? I don't mind going there again if just for the food but I do want to visit other part of India and I suggest you to visit it as you will understand Indian culture better when you have experience a slice of India.