1. You have a cast iron stomach.
Wherever you are you’ll crave a vada pav. The city is packed with food carts and delectable street food that gets pared with spices, chutneys, and relishes. But the king of foods, often grossly referred to as “the Indian Burger,” is the vada pav: a fried potato patty with spices plus bread and spicy chutney. If it’s one of your favorite things to eat, you’re definitely a local. And anyone from Mumbai is immune street food bugs. You’ve grown up eating from food carts, been warned several times that it’s probably unhygienic, not to mention unhealthy. But it’s never stopped you. Plus, you’ve never felt sick from it — take that mom!
2. You’re used to traveling in a packed local train.
The local trains could make a can of sardines look comfy. And you’re used to battling with local fisherwomen for a spot to stand in. While the world tries to imagine the scenario, for you it’s just another Tuesday morning on the train on your way to work. Yes, there’s an entirely separate compartment for the fisherwomen and their straw baskets full of stinky fish, but they refuse to sit there and take great pleasure squatting by the doors, making life extremely inconvenient in the women’s compartment. And it doesn’t help that the train is always full and has no air conditioning…
3. You don’t get starstruck.
You’re so used to spotting Bollywood celebrities in certain restaurants and bars that it no longer phases you, whereas anyone from out of town would probably die of excitement.
4. The local train is a great source for random shopping.
There’s always someone trying to sell you things on the local train, especially odd items like nail polish, hairclips, a new toothbrush, or fruits. It’s also a very common sight to see women sitting and chopping their vegetables on the train so that they don’t have to do it when they get home. Ah, Mumbai life.
5. Traveling within the city is not your thing.
While it’s perfectly normal for most people to travel from one part of town to another, if you live in Mumbai you’d seriously rather travel to Pune, a city approximately four hours away, than go to Andheri or Malad — suburbs within the city that take forever to get to because of crazy traffic.
6. Crowds don’t bother you.
In a city of over a million people, it’s difficult to avoid crowded areas. Nothing’s more crowded than a local train or walking down basically any street in the city. It’s adorable when people from other countries get flustered by the crowds, because to you, it’s perfectly normal, and anyway, their idea of a “crowd” is closer to your idea of sparsity.
7. You speak Hindi unlike that in any other city in India.
We have our own colloquial terms and words that the rest of India fondly refers to as ‘’Bombay Hindi’. The word bhai might mean brother for everyone else, but for you it’s how you’d address a drug lord. Supari doesn’t really mean the nut found in paan, but something a whole lot deadlier…like a hitman.
8. You’re used to going to the beach and not seeing a single person in beachwear.
Nowhere else in the world does someone go to a public beach and not spot a single woman in a bathing suit of any kind. Juhu beach and Chowpatty get flooded with people, but it’s all about eating chaat and seeing hordes of sari-clad ladies walk on the beach and try to get into the water while fully-clothed. No one swims, and you definitely won’t see anyone in a bikini.
9. You have no concept of what real winter is.
Let’s be honest: this city has no winter season. You think 20 degrees is a blizzard. The lowest it reaches is about 18-odd degrees, and even that’s rare. When the temperature does get that low, everyone pulls out their sweaters and shawls and marvels at how refreshing the weather is. The rest of the time it’s awful heat or similarly terrible monsoon rains.
10. You just don’t like Delhi.
At some point in your life as a Mumbaikar, you’ve indulged in the pointless debate of Mumbai v Delhi. You’ve probably gone there to visit someone or to attend school, had a blast eating at some of the best culinary spots in the country, and lived it up at one of the city’s many fancy bars or clubs, but at the heart of it you just do not like anyone from Delhi. And you have no problem being vocal about it.
11. Sachin Tendulkar is your god and the day he retired was the most miserable day of your life.
While cricket is almost a religion in India, and the greatest batsman ever is Sachin Tendulkar (at least, that’s what you’ll hear from his million fans), to a local, Sachin Tendulkar is even more than that. He’s the epitome of sporting heros, and no one, seriously, no one, is more important.
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