Living in Mumbai is like being in Disneyland.

Beauty amidst the chaos is constant

As I was driving home tonight – or rather bring twisted and turned about in an auto rickshaw en route home I had this sudden realization. Mumbai is like Disneyland. In both places your senses are completely assaulted and over stimulated, sounds, smells, noise, laughter and tears (yes indeed there are tears in Disneyland as many a young child has been terrified by many a life size Disney character.) Sweet food and snacks are everywhere you turn. In fact in both places you can easily get your hands on drinks that are basically pure sugar water. You can also enjoy a donut or a jalabie. (being made in the video below). There are long lines to get anywhere like on Splash Mountain or the train to get to your office. You wonder constantly – where did all these people come from and how did all my money disappear so fast. There is a predictable storyline and a predetermined cast of characters found in the Bollywood stars and cartoon characters. Even in a city of 18 million people it can feel like a Small World After All. Last weekend I went to brunch with some new friends where I ran into a woman I had spoken with months back while searching for an apartment in Mumbai. It’s a small works after all we both said. If Dinseyland can hold the title of “The Happiest Place on Earth” Mumbai can claim the title of “The Realest Place on Earth.” Are happy and real the same thing? I think it depends on your view of things. But what I do know is each day in Mumbai feels like a total rollercoaster and the lights never seem to go off.

Gayatri Eassey is committed to making an impact and a difference in her community both in the United States and in India, both personally and professionally. She is passionate about education, democracy and women's empowerment. She enjoys traveling, taking pictures and spending time with friends and family. She is a dedicated advocate for educational equity and has worked for The College Success Foundation and as Associate Director for External Affairs for Seattle University's Career Services Office. She is the former Interim Executive Director for Career Services at Seattle University. Prior to working at Seattle University she served as Executive Director of City Year Seattle, and as special assistant for boards and commissions in the Office of Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire. She spent three years on the Seattle Community College Board of Trustees. She was the co-founder of the YWCA's Gen-Rising Committee, committed to engaging more young people in the critical work of the YWCA. Her additional experience includes work as a trainer for the National Democratic Institute in Amman, Jordan, preparing women to run for elective office. She has also served as political director for the Washington State Democrats. She recently completed a fellowship with the National Urban Fellows, America's Leaders of Change. She is a former board member for the Center for Women and Democracy, the Institute for a Democratic Future, and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce Young Professional Network. She was the Statewide President of the Young Democrats of Washington and a Fellow with the World Affairs Council of Seattle. She earned her MBA in 2012 and hopes to align her government and nonprofit background with her business education to support public private partnerships which provide mutual benefit and strengthen communities.

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4 thoughts on “Living in Mumbai is like being in Disneyland.

  1. My thoughts as well. I remember comparing it to a kaleidoscope the first time I was in Bombay. There is a list of MUST DO IN MUMBAI that I can immediately think of.. some of these are rather inexpensive and won’t burn the pocket… I hope happy and real coincide, they do for me… well mostly.

  2. So here is my really short list to add more to your disneyland experience-

    1. Britannia and Co, Ballard Estate, Fort- Do not miss the berry pulao, Mutton Sali Boti. Their chicken is tolerable as well. The dessert lagan nu custard (caramel) is awesome but quite creamy. The best part of B & Co. is the variety in the stories about the owner, an interesting Parsi gentleman. My story dates back my intro to Zoroastrian cuisine via Britannia and Co. My expectation was to walk into an Art Deco or a Neo Classical building since Ballard Estate has a fine share of them but this one is rather dilapidated. My dampened spirits came alive when I saw a rooster on the cashier’s (also the owner’s) desk! I do not remember much of what I ate and drank ( I have avoided their raspberry drink ever since!) but it was the rooster that caught my fancy. I believe its name was Robin. Could you bring back their paper napkin as a souvenir for me? It proudly displays their logo- the rooster. It says THERE IS NO LOVE GREATER THAN THE LOVE OF EATING. I could not agree more…

    2. Walk around Dadar Parsi Colony to see old, beautiful houses… Some of these are gorgeous, use your camera to preserve them for future, Mumbai builders have an eye on them.

    3. Eat at Soam, this restaurant that serves Gujarati Nashta and home food without much oil or sugar. Do not miss Sprouts Bhel and Sherdi nu ras (sugarcane juice). Soam, opposite Babul Nath Temple, Chowpatty.

    4. If you feel like eating simple North Indian food, then go to Crystals, next to Wilson College (great building). Their Rajma Chawal is to die for. This is for the days you miss ‘my mom’s (who you never met) food’ and are cash strapped (Hopefully never). Try okra and Dal Makhani with parantha (ask for less oil)… simple, homely and no frills. Ambiance- zero

    4. They say that food at Mohd Ali Road is great. I ate there long ago and remember Nawab (this kebab place), there are some in Nagpada Junction, Chand Harissa areas. I would say Lucknow and Delhi have better Mughlai food but Bombayites/Mumbaikars would be up in the arms. Try eating the Bohri dishes here- best in India.

    4. Walk around Mutton Street- To check some antiques stores and enjoy talking about them with their owners. There is a predictable variety here- gramophones, old records, silver ware, porcelain, door knobs to old furniture. Not the best place to buy… there are other more reliable places for serious purchases.

    5. Colaba Causeway – Footwear, clothes, bags… Moshe’s, absolute must to eat there

    6. Cheekuwadi, Malwani Church, Malad area.

    7. Walking down from Altamount to Carmichael Road, under the flyover- to Crossword, drink a Smoothie at Moshe’s Cafe and try their granola bar

    8. Kotachi Wadi- It is beautiful

    9. Cycling in the Navy Nagar area on a Sunday, stop by the Afghan Church

    10. Irani Cafes, my favourites are Kyani (opposite Metro Cinema Hall)- traditionally, you’d eat Bun Maska and drink chai, sit for hours reading the newspapers. If you lived in the 80’s, your bill as a rule should not be more than Rs. 15! but they have some great savories as well that may go up to Rs. 70. Try B. Merwan outside Grant Road Station for puddings, Bastani (Church gate area) is okay too.

    11. Bandra Bandstand and Mount Mary Church, they have candles in various shapes- interesting

    12. Old Synagogues in Bombay that you could visit…I like the Kenesth Eliyahoo Synagogue

    13. Fort Walks every Sunday morning organized by Bombay Heritage Trust. I can send you their contact numbers.

    14. Visit the Maidans on a Sunday morning, watch a cricket match do not miss the Bombay sandwiches, vada pao and mangola at the stalls outside.

    15. Visit a Film Studio

    16. Kanheri Caves in Sanjay Gandhi National Park (Buddhist Caves, some parts of which date before the birth of Christ). I’d go there in a group- Avoid Sundays and late evenings

    17. Elephanta Caves, of course

    18. Raj Bhawan, Governor’s house at Malabar Hills

    19. Mani Bhawan

    20. Eating Kulfi (Icecream) at Parsi Dairy Farm, Kalbadevi- You cannot miss it

    21. Crawford Market- Get the veggies for your kitchen

    22. Trishna Restaurant, Kala Ghoda, Fort – I liked it though the standards are dipping

    23. All the Kala Ghoda Art Galleries… Must visit during the Festival time in Jan/Feb

    24. Fab India, Fort – Cafe there is cool

    25. Prithvi Theatre- Totally!!!

    Go get into that auto!

    1. saving this for myself as well, Shagufta! Gayatri, I think I could be ready for the Indian Disneyland trip within a few months!

  3. Wow. Mumbai is an incredible city and I have spent a lot of time there over the last ten years but Shagufta has added all these attractions between Pirates and Toontown. Thanks

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