Space in Mumbai

Yay, yay!!! I made it today – a year in Mumbai. If you wonder what’s so happy to be about…well, the old-age never-ending debate on Mumbai vs Delhi is something which can happen over a cup of coffee which concludes. One is India’s financial capital, the other it’s political capital and both are greek to me ;). I was told that if I can make it a year, I should toast. Cheers to me!!

Movies, Camera and Action is how I would describe the Bollywood City. Hustle-bustle of people, street-snacks, the famous Dabbawalas (ingenious team who deliver 200,000 meals every day from homes to offices within three hours) and local train network which has the highest passenger density in the world is what Mumbai stands out for. People including myself compare it to Manhattan of New York having being stayed there as well which I equally enjoyed.

Thus, the first thing that defines Mumbai is its immense density due to which the housing prices are as high as the towers themselves. It is the city with the eighteenth highest number of skyscrapers in the world, most of which are residential. No matter where you choose to stay in this city of dreams, you will see washed clothes hanging on a rope out of the window on the twenty-fifth floor as the apartments do not have enough room to hang your clothes to dry. Nonetheless, it adds tons of character to the buildings!!

I stay in a 1BHK apartment in a well-architectured and guarded residential society. When I am inside my apartment, I often forgot that I am surrounded by buildings and people and all the noise. I really enjoy to live with only the things I need, no waste space and it feels spacious because it’s layout is efficient. Over the years as my affordability increased so did my living space gradually expanded. I have added few craftwork furniture to add a character to my apartment but I consume to fit my space. Being minimalistic is my mantra! I know it is bound to happen, but I try to keep the number of items to a minimum.

But this is me staying by myself. The space one need might expand beyond living quarters. India doesn’t have any leasing regulation which restricts or legalize the number of people staying in an apartment. So, there are families (parents + 2 kids) staying in a 1 BHK or 1 RK (similar to a studio apartment). Living space is hard to come by and they often have little or no choice, the one that not only limits your wallet but also your living space. I think a lot of people just live with it – what else can they do. And that way of living permeates beyond their homes and out on the streets. Personal space is not in their dictionary. The sidewalks are often full with people, as are the buses, local trains and streets with cars. From bird’s eye-view, I can only imagine how suffocating it must be to be around people so often, to have so little room for yourself.

Source: Mantra Ray Comics

So, how much space do we need? Does space affect our feelings for one another both inside and outside our personal spaces? Well, with each person sharing that space, the need changes or one’s concept of solitude changes. Attitudes about needs and space probably depend on how much roaming space we have inside our mind vs how much external stimulation we need – a place to breathe, to dwell or to enjoy. No matter how cramped and claustrophobic an apartment may be, the moment one is by the seaside it’s bliss!!

Now obviously – thee’s “need” and need. The question is how long it will take before we have to escape the city as well, if don’t already.

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