Nostalgia’s striking…this time I’m taking you through some of the ‘unspoken and unwritten rules’ of the place I fell in love with, the very moment I arrived there – I’m talking about the place they call “the city of dreams,” Mumbai.
Rule #1: Get Used to the Haggling
If you follow fashion and trends, you’ll certainly come across well-wishers who will tell you to hit some of the popular local markets of Mumbai. The tip you need to abide by is – practice your best poker face and work on your haggling skills. The unrealistic prices the vendors quote can give a tough fight to the rising prices of petrol, so start with a brazen 50% lower than the quoted price. Set a mental figure in your head and don’t go beyond it. In all probability, when you start walking away, the vendor will call you back and grudgingly agree to your number. Some bargains can be found at:
- Fashion Street – is a stomping ground for the college crowd (most of the colleges are in close proximity to this street) and it’s easy to find a bargain of designer wear here
- Lokhandwala Market – is a regular haunt for struggling actors of the television industry (most of them live in and around the area, hence the overtly priced tags!)
- Linking Road – is a shopper’s paradise in Bandra, especially known for footwear and bags
- Colaba Causeway – is a blend of culture where old Bombay meets new Mumbai
Rule #2: Seat Reservation…It’s Free!
If you’re expecting to travel by a local train at least once during your visit to Mumbai, you need to be prepared. While you make your way through the crammed compartments in an effort to hop snag a seat, I’d suggest you keep this tip in mind – staring at someone sitting comfortably and waiting for him/her to get down at the next station will not fetch you a seat. There’s an unsaid rule where whoever enters the compartment books a seat (it’s all unofficial and free!) by wagging a forefinger, starting from the person sitting on the window seat and fixing the deal with the one who gets down at the nearest station. No one else, but the one who books the seat well in advance has the rights to claim it (first come, first served applies here!). For a novice, I can just say, when in doubt, check this tip out.
Rule #3: Everything comes with a Pav
Everything sure comes with a price, but in Mumbai, everything comes with a pav. Irrespective of whether you order for vada, samosa, bread pakora or bhajiya, all of these come sandwiched between slices of pav. You might as well go with the accompaniment for one reason –with or without the accompaniment, the cost doesn’t change. Learning a few words and terms in Marathi would make you feel completely at home in the city full of life. Do visit and you’re likely to fall in love with Mumbai for the way it is!