I wonder if there’s something a little off in the world. Or my world. I think it is mighty rude to keep criticizing someone’s city in front of a native. At some point, the gripes cease to be ‘opinions’- that beautiful can of worms everyone seems to be entitled to. The gripes turn into something more insidious – judgments and remarks or, at the very least, stuff that hurt someone’s feelings.
Okay, so it is an age-old debate as to which place is better – Bombay or Delhi. Maybe the verdict has come in the favour of the capital. Great news! It’s good if the capital of one’s country is deemed to be paradise and all that. But…I mean, I think it is one thing to praise one’s city. It’s another thing to constantly compare and carp about another’s region – especially if it is one where you have come to work and live, out of choice. Sure, I get that this city is not as clean and the roads are not as wide and the food is not as tasty and the people are not as decent or well-groomed. But this city is definitely NOT the hell-hole that it’s being made out to be.
Currently, I am meeting people from Delhi and Chandigarh and Ludhiana more often than before. I am meeting people from Bombay and Pune and Bangalore who have stayed in Delhi. And they are all coming across as such a mass of whiners. And I’m saying this as a Bombayite – we were the original regional chauvinists. (I know I was insufferable in Pune.)
I think it’s time one stopped and insisted on a little bit of respect for the city. I see people throw banana peels down a drain and say that the city is so dirty. They hear a language they don’t understand and they say it is so crass. They see potato and peas cooked in a regional way and go to town about how people here don’t know how to cook. They look at vada pavs and make faces and talk loudly about how nauseating that looks.
I wonder where all this migrant problem is coming from. This city seems to be full of people who don’t want to be in it.
I understand how Bombay may be another fractured, crumbling, old, weary aging city to many many people.
But…guys…to many many others, it’s home.