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Safe and Warm in the City of Mumbai

Call me Pollyanna if you must, but I believe that people are generally good until proven otherwise. However, it’s very difficult to stick to this truism in many places around the world, especially the very large metro areas. It’s not that people are not good there, it’s just that we see very few demonstrations of it.

Either its a New York City where you are invisible – just one of the multitudes lost in the crowds, or it’s Los Angeles where again you are invisible – in the vast expanse of neighborhoods. Actually, I take that back, in NYC, sometimes you are not invisible but you wish you were, because someone else was rude to you just now…:)

I do see a difference in some of the southern US cities, and I see a difference in smaller towns, wherever they may be. 

Not that it’s a small town by any account, but that brings me to Mumbai.  I’ve compared its similiarities to NYC in another post but there are a couple of major differences.

Safe and Warm in the City of Mumbai!

For one, in Mumbai, people are warm to others. You may be a stranger or you may be a lifer, whatever the case may be, you are rarely invisible, and it’s even rarer to encounter rude behavior. People generally have a ‘live and let live’ attitude, and they are helpful when you need help. This is why I enjoy taking my visiting friends and showing them around the city. The weather may be unbearable in summer, but its people are not!

Here’s another quality that may surprise you. Notwithstanding all the stories you hear about the Mafia underworld of Mumbai, this is a safe city. It is said that a woman alone can take a taxi at 2 am in the morning and feel safe about reaching her destination problem-free. I have never done that before. But I could, without being overly concerned, since I have heard about Mumbai’s safety so many times from so many different people. I can’t say I’d do the same in New Delhi! And I won’t even feel that comfortable doing so in Bangalore or Hyderabad.

People in Mumbai - Monsoon Sunday at Gateway of India

Now that I’ve been here for a few months, I really believe in these qualities of Mumbai – people are generally nice to you, and it is known to be a safe city for ordinary people. I say this while acknowledging but ignoring some very special cases such as 26/11 and even the most recent bomb blasts that occurred just a few days ago .  I relegate those to terrible acts of terrorism by a small fringe element – people essentially not from Bombay but seeking to destroy its very essence.

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So, back to the premise that people here are basically good-natured and warm. What I wonder though is, why is this the case?

Is it simply endemic to the region, i.e., are people from Maharashtra just built this way?

Or, rather, is it because Mumbai is a melting pot of so many different cultures from around the country (and world) that it has become that way?

I really don’t know the answer, but would sure love to hear others’ theories about this. Please, enlighten me!

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Photo 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joezach/90248788/ {{cc-by-2.0}} 

Photo 2: Sandhya – June 2011

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Discovering Great Dining in Mumbai -Goan

As I unravel this city, I find that the things that you can do really well in Mumbai are: eat, drink, shop, party.  Not that I am overly prone to any of these decadent activities…. 😉

However, on those rare occasions when I do find something worthy of time and enjoyment, seems like I should record it, for posterity’s sake if nothing else, don’t you?

So, here then is my first post on a highly recommended (by me) dining destination in Mumbai. Actually, I kinda have a feeling this post is the first of many such, as there are numerous stomach-worthy destinations of all kinds and shapes in the city!

This one is a Goan place, with all kinds of fish specialties – but also sumptuous chicken dishes. Sorry, but I don’t recall actually trying any vegie stuff!  They have a Fish Thali that’s mmm… delicious and all Goan.  The place housing the restaurant definitely has character, and the ambiance can be described as casual, homey, charming, vintage and having personality. I had originally said it is “to die for” but I was wrong; you can probably say that about some of the delectable dishes though. And, frankly, it has ridiculously reasonable prices (I spot an oxymoron in there, somewhere).

Before I get too carried away, let me tell you what and where it is.  The place is called  Soul Fry Casa (see picture below) and is in downtown Mumbai in Fort/Kala Ghoda, a few shops down from the Fab India store located there.

If you want to really relish the food, you might want to start off with a “chilly vodka” shot from the bar.  Spicy and yummy, like the food!

Soul Fry Casa, Mumbai

Address and stuff:  111,Currimjee Bldg, Opp Mumbai University, M.G.Road, Fort, Mumbai. Tel: +91 22 22671421

Thanks to Vishal, Sandhya and Shanthini for the photographs.

Just inside the restaurant...do you see what I mean by "character"?

View from upstairs dining...check out the ceiling and railing. Nice!

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