If you are trying to find how are the people of Mumbai, then this is the right article for you. Here you will read about Mumbai culture and its people, local trains, lifestyle and such other interesting details. Additionally, if you are looking for books on Mumbai then I have listed a few in the article. So, keep reading.
The people of Mumbai are called “Mumbaikars”, just like “Kolkatan” of Kolkata or “Delhites” of Delhi. It means they, “Mumbaikars” are the inhabitants of Mumbai. Mumbai is surrounded by the Arabian sea on the west, and south and Thane creek on the east. On the north are the suburbs of Borivali, Vasai and Thane. The northern suburbs are also the gateway to Mumbai via road and rail.
Many Mumbai people use daily local trains for commute
Mumbai local trains are very crowded, especially during peak office hours. When people have to go and return from work, the local trains are the fastest option to reach on time. Local train network are the lifeline of Mumbai. There are several routes, namely,
- Central line,
- Western line,
- Harbour line,
- Trans-Harbour line,
- Metro train
If you find the local train routes complicated, don’t worry. Even Mumbaikars have to think again when they take a different route. Well, Mumbai is an island city and the train system divides the city into the western side, central side and the harbour line. The Metro trains are a new addition to the train system and make travel easier and faster for those who prefer it.
People do a lot of work during their train commute too. Many working ladies cut vegetables like French beans while managing to hold their place on the train seat. This is so that when they reach home, they can do some more tasks at home in their free time. In short, Mumbai people are always high on energy. Laziness is not a term you would commonly associate with Mumbai inhabitants.
Getting inside a local train needs some care, practice, observation and applying some strategy. Once you are inside, you need to strike up a conversation with some fellow train travellers if you are new to the city. Most Mumbaikars are helpful and might readily give you polite guidance. Many begin their day with the local train and end with vada pav. Mumbai’s people suffer the heat, the crowds and the trains. Yet in so many situations, Mumbai residents are quite helpful.
Mumbai people and culture
The people of Mumbai are commonly regarded as pre-occupied, busy and mind their own business. That is because a lot of time is consumed in travelling. Mumbai people might stay at one point yet work at some location far away within Mumbai. Even then, Mumbai people are even-tempered and helpful when the need arises. They know the struggle that is required to survive in Mumbai. Travelling to work and back leaves little time for family and so Mumbaikars get very excited for weekends and public holidays. Then they either relax at home and try to forget the weekday commute or go to places near Mumbai for a brief vacation break.
Life is fast in Mumbai yet people here are multi-tasking all the time. Their daily schedules run according to the clock. They are professional and hard-working in their approach to work. Life moves quickly, and everyone is busy. Mumbaikars are the most tolerant. It combines individuals from different cultures and religions. People in this metropolis are largely humorous, modern, helpful and hard-working.
Even during the most horrific dark days, people came together to support and help one another. This includes the Mumbai floods, the train explosions, and the 26/11 terrorist strikes. People are resilient despite these extraordinary events and Mumbaikars get back to their daily lives fast. Yet Mumbai has learnt to be watchful and cautious the hard way. People immediately alert the police if they find unidentified objects in public places.
Population of Mumbai
Mumbai is a largely populated metropolis bursting at its seams. According to mumbaisuburban.gov.in, the literacy rate in Mumbai is above 85%. and the population is above 93 lakhs.
The main languages in this city are English, Marathi, Hindi and Gujarati. It is the country’s most populated city. Mumbai is a mix of cultures, giving space to people from all parts of the country. The city has a large population of Gujaratis, Parsis, Hindi-speaking communities and south Indians. Apart from these, there are plenty of Bengalis in Mumbai and its suburbs.
This is evident from the many Durga Puja pandals during the Navratri festival. Apart from these, there are Konkani, Kashmiris, Assamese, Oriya, Malayali and Punjabis. So, Mumbai is multi-cultural in that respect. Each community has their special cuisine and their version of festivals. There is a peaceful co-existence of all these communities and religions within Mumbai.
History of Mumbai in brief
The Koli or fishermen community are the original inhabitants of the island city. The name of the city is derived from the Goddess Mumba Devi at Kalbadevi in South Mumbai, worshipped by the Koli community. The city has Buddhist caves at Kanheri, Mahakali, Jogeshwari and Elephanta. The city was originally seven separate islands. These seven islands of Mumbai were joined by reclamation to form what we see today as the Mumbai map.
Festivals that Mumbai people celebrate
Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists live together peacefully in this massive city. Mumbaikars value time and strive to be prompt. The city’s diversity allows its residents to live life to the fullest and work exceedingly hard to make ends meet.
Ganesh Chaturthi, Christmas, Diwali, and Id are some very popular festivals in Mumbai. The streets get crowded with people having community celebrations. For instance, during the Navratri festival, devotees gather for the Garba dandiya dance. The many Durga puja pandals are elaborately decorated. People gather in various churches during Christmas. At Chhat Puja, people gather at Juhu beach for praying to the Sun god. The largest crowds are during the Ganesh Chaturthi visarjan or immersion of the Ganesha Idols. The Mumbai traffic police try their best to regulate the traffic at all times.
Lifestyle of Mumbai people
Money is necessary for survival, yet there are several instances where lost items are found by strangers and returned to their rightful owners. By and large, people are reliable and honest. Since families are nuclear, helpers are employed in homes to assist with the housework. Many working women trust these house helpers with their home keys. With this key, the house helper enters the house to clean it even in the owner’s absence.
Though people are busy and non-interfering, whenever there are extraordinary situations like a flooding deluge (2005), people are helpful. Even if students travelling in trains have some problem then fellow passengers get concerned and help out. Moreover, you will find police in local train compartments in the lady’s compartments. The streets are narrow, crowded and bustle with vendors. You will find autorickshaws in the northern suburbs and taxis in the southern town. True Mumbaikars do not use swear or curse words on regular occasions.
Igatpuri Vipassana, Kaivalya Dham Yoga centre at Lonavala, and Yoga Institute at Santacruz, are places people go to learn yoga and meditation. Several yoga centres and gymnasiums exist in the city for the local’s fitness regimes.
Markets, Offices, and Eateries
Mumbai is also a shopper’s paradise. Places like Colaba market, Bandra Linking road and Hill road, Malad and Borivali market, Manish market, Zaveri bazaar, and Gandhi market are famous. Here you can buy a variety of things including clothes, jewellery, etc. Hotels are crowded as people love visiting eateries, especially on weekends. Diverse cuisines are available for food lovers. There are several pubs, cafes, bars and nightclubs for people to visit.
The significant aspect of Mumbai is its Financial Capital status. There’s the stock exchange, industry headoffices, businesses, government offices, media houses, film industry and a large working population. Most offices used to be located in South Mumbai but in recent years several government offices have moved to Navi Mumbai too.
Several schools are located all over Mumbai and in suburbs. These are State board, CBSE, ICSE, International board schools and very few residential schools. Colleges and university offering diverse faculty courses exists in Mumbai to cater to the educational needs of the city youth. Most colleges follow the government syllabus and pattern while some are private autonomous. If you search, you can find hostels, PG and rental accomodation for outstation college students in Mumbai.
Mumbai sightseeing and places near Mumbai
People love to visit the Gateway of India and marine drive during the rains. You will also find people visiting the Jivadani temple in north Mumbai and the SGNP national park. Mumbai is uniquely blessed to own a National Park in the northern suburbs. This SGNP national park is home to leopards that sometimes stray outside the peripheral boundaries. They are then rescued by the forest department and deposited back deep inside the park. Then there’s the aquarium and planetarium for enthusiasts to visit.
Govardhan Ecovillage of ISKON, located beyond the north of Mumbai is also a new attraction. The ISKON temple at Juhu, Babulnath temple, Mahalaxmi temple, and Siddhivinayak temple is visited by thousands of devotees daily.
Mumbai is the epicentre of Hindi movie and popularly called Bollywood. The Marathi movie industry is also thriving from Mumbai. The bungalows and residential apartments where famous movie stars reside are hot attractions for Mumbai visitors.
People gather outside the movie star’s homes to catch a glimpse of their favourite actors. Locals are delighted to see movie actors too! They might smile, greet and click pictures whenever they see a television actor in popular markets. The Mumbai Hindi has it’s share of slang that is shown in the Bollywood movies too. Movies halls and drama theatres are packed whenever there’s an interesting movie or play.
Waterparks and Exhibitions
Water parks Esselworld and Tikuji-ni Wadi are popular with fun-loving citizens. The Kala Ghoda Art Festival is also very popular for quirky artistic exhibits. The Prince of Wales museum and various seasonal handloom exhibitions get crowded.
Mumbai is warm most of the year. Winters are very mild and pleasant. Nearby scenic places like Alibaug beaches, Kokan beaches, Lavasa, Lonavala, Khandala, Matheran, Mahableshwar and Goa are popular with Mumbai people during long weekends and vacations. The Karnala bird sanctuary near Mumbai is a refreshing place to visit. The wonderful flock of seasonal Flamingo birds at Thane creek attracts hundreds of visitors.
Books on Mumbai for Children and Adults
People called Mumbai
- Author – Vinitha Ramchandani
- Publisher – Fun OK Please Content Publishing
- Year of publishing – 2017
- Pages – 116
- Genre – Children’s literature, narrative nonfiction
- Reader age group – 7 to 12 years
- Stars – 3.5 out of 5
If you want your kids to know more about the city of Mumbai, places, people and much more, then this book is a must read. The book has captivating illustrations and presented in a narrative about real people and their real stories. There are 20 stories about common people in Mumbai and stories from their lives.
Why I selected this book is precisely this reason that the stories are about real people. So kids will find what’s it like to be film star Anil Kapoor’s duplicate. What does a potter in Kumbharwada deal with? How is a lady police Sub-Inspector doing her work?
Mumbai is a melting pot of several sub-cultures of India. In addition, people of diverse economic strate make a living in this bustling metropolis. The insights into their lives are interesting and some learnings are undeniable. This book is part of a unique project “People Place Project”. The series of books covers places in India and the people in that place.
Adventures of Toto the Auto
- Author – Ruta Vyas
- Publisher – Penguin Random House
- Year of Publication – 2011
- Pages – 28
- Age group – 3 to 6 years storytelling, Reading age – 7 to 8 years
- Genre: Children’s fiction picture book
- Stars – 4 out of 5
It’s an imaginative fiction story of an autorickshaw Toto and it’s driver Pattu. This book is a modern day moral story book with everyday common incidents that kids can relate to. We always depend on folktales and moral stories for passing on morals to kids between 3 to 8 years old.
I selected this book simply because I loved the concept of an auto Toto and its driver Pattu helping people as the day goes by struggling through the city roads. Kids see autos on the streets and its really fun and cute how this series on Toto the auto, makes the common auto get character and personality.
366 words in Mumbai
- Author – Mirabelle Da’Cunha
- Publisher – Fun OK Please
- Year of Publication – 2012
- Pages – 40
- Genre – Children’s non-fiction picture book
- Age group – 7 years above
- Stars – 4.5 out of 5
What I find special about this book is it covers typical Mumbai words, landmark places, festivals, culture, experiences and food of Mumbai. Firstly, there are very few books for children that tell interesting fun facts about Indian cities. This book is one of them.
Moreover, the quality of the book is great. The good paper quality, lovely full page coloured illustrations and the discovery of several fasinating details about this unique Indian city of Mumbai. All of these features makes this book very attractive and a valuable resource. Reading this book as a classroom activity or a bed time picture talk will be enjoyable for kids.
Faltugiri and Other Flashbacks
- Author – Janhavi Samant
- Publisher – Fun OK Please
- Year of publication – 2019
- Pages – 148
- Age group – 10 years and above
- Genre – Memoir, Chapter book
- Stars – 4.5 out of 5
What I loved about this book is the flowy narrative, the illustrations and so relatable Mumbai names and places. The vibe of the 80’s is evident through out the reading and for the new age kids it can be insightful of the times they never lived in. So in a way it is historical but not fiction because it’s a memoir of the author’s growing up years in the 80’s. In fact, even people from the 80’s would love to read this book.
The storytelling is humourous, amusing and candid. The book is certainly interesting to read. They have a kindle edition too.
Books on Mumbai for Teenagers and Adults
No Presents Please: Mumbai Stories
- Author – Jayant Kaikini
- Translator – Tejaswini Niranjana
- Publisher – Harper Perennial
- Year of publication – originally published in 2017
- Pages – 240
- Age group – above 13 years
- Genre – narrative nonfiction
- Stars – 4 out of 5
This book has many short stories originally written in kannada and translated into English. The characters and the environments in these tales are exactly what makes them so enjoyable. You can discover other books about Mumbai, but it’s unusual to find a story that actually engages with the regular people we come across in daily life.
Whether you are new to the Mumbai or been living in the city for decades, one thing you wil notice is that people are constantly working or on the move. Despite being among people, you will never know what their lives are like.
This book features a wide variety of people, including trend setters from South Mumbai, industrial employees, ambitious entertainment industry dreamers, and migrants from outside the city.
These are some true stories about people who live unknown lives in far-flung suburbs and work in professions that we almost don’t notice much, for instance, in a movie theatre. Some of these tales are amusing while others are sad and emotional.
This book won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature in 2018.
Bombay Meri Jaan
- Author – Jerry Pinto and Naresh Fernandes
- Publisher – Penguin India
- Year of publication – originally published in 2003
- Pages – 356
- Genre – Literary nonfiction, Poetry
- Age agroup – 15 years above
- Stars – 4.5 out of 5
This book is an anthology/collection of poems and prose writings by few prominent names in literature world, such as Sulman Rushdie, Khushwant Singh, V.S. Naipaul, Dilip Chitre and others. The pieces are about various peculiarities and aspects of this unique city. There are photographs and cartoons that will also catch your attention. Then there’s also a special song and a Bombay Duck recipe that will delight you.
Ordinary people extraordinary stories
- Author – Karishma Mehta
- Publisher – Harper Collin India
- Year of publication – 2021
- Pages – 256
- Genre – Nonfiction, personal-transformation, inspirational
- Age agroup – 17 years above
- Stars – 4.5 out of 5
These are real life accounts of Mumbai people. When author Karishma Mehta started Humans of Bombay, true honest, emotional stories started coming out in the open. These are extraordinary stories that inspire people and in a way heal people too.
It’s a way of making peace with the way things are. Not only do these stories make it “OK” that people can have different narratives in their lives, but also that other people need not have the same stories that you have. The truth is there’s no cookie cutter life story. It’s whatever circumstances life throws at you, yet you make the best of out of the given circumstances.
Humans of Bombay have great fan engagement and people find these stories really moving. Knowing these stories builds solidarity, empathy for fellow human beings and builds your resilience as well. Some stories are happy while some are bitter or disturbing. Yet, all stories are inspiring, emotional and straightforward.
Other books on Mumbai
Despite being technologically and industrially sophisticated, the people of Mumbai are profoundly rooted in their values, religion, and convictions. Since many people migrate to Mumbai for work, many new immigrants gradually blend into the Mumbai culture. It is difficult, if not impossible, to identify a true Mumbaikar. A true Mumbaikar is the perfect blend of North, South, East and West of India. They are passionate about cinema, food, and shopping. Distances between places seldom seem to concern Mumbaikar because it is customary to travel for hours to get from one spot to another.
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