When you have lived too long in a very comfortable style, you tend to lose perspective. I meet extremely rich people, reasonably rich people, rich people, and middle class people.

And the richer they are, more they seem to be cribbing. ‘Why pay Rs. 25 Lakhs for a parking ….’ or ‘Mumbai has no infrastructure…’ to a lot of crib, crib, crib. …

However I also talk to very low end guys..and sometimes they give you perspective in life. One such guy works as a ‘security guard’ and I got talking to him. He has come from a northern state and works in Mumbai on a princely salary of Rs. 5500. The job is almost 12 hours and the ‘cruelest’ thing is if he is caught sleeping (by the supervisor) he loses ONE MONTH’S SALARY’. Gawd imagine working in the unorganised sector!

He said ‘Sir there are so many opportunities in Mumbai….when I have free time I drive a car and earn Rs. 350 a day..and I have friends who drive auto rickshaws…sometimes I drive that too. All this allows me to earn about 500-800 a month. There are sometimes when a passenger gives me a tip of Rs. 10…

He was amazed at the money making opportunities in Mumbai and kept comparing that to his village – where he says even if you were to beg, there would not be anybody to give you alms. 

Do look around what ever stage of life you are in, Mumbai gives fantastic opportunities to learn, earn money and generally improve your life. 


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  1. Recently i read a book – Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley. I can’t help but compare the story of the security guard to few things that the author had described in the book about urbanization and why it’s not such a bad thing etc…. The book is about how prosperity has evolved over centuries… it’s a good read.

  2. Yes. Mumbai has amazing opportunity… have witnessed something interesting in the last few days… on my twitter feed I have someone who cusses Andheri East bigtime.. (my rationale is if you can drive on Andheri Kurla Rd you can drive anywhere on earth)..
    on the other hand, met someone the other day who was desperate to get even a one room-Kitchen in my colony, which is one of the nicest surprises of Mumbai even if it is in Andheri E 🙂

  3. The most important thing in Mumbai is the presence of law and order in everyday life. I remember an auto driver telling me that in his hometown somewhere bordering Bihar and West Bengal, you don’t get to keep your daily earnings to yourself. There will be local goons who can and will come to you and take an arbitrary amount away by force. Whereas in Mumbai, he’s the master of his earnings and once he pays whatever is agreed upon, nobody will bother him.

    By and large caste is a non-issue in mumbai. In many other places in India, caste and untouchability is like a daily slap in the face of countless indians.

    What will you give to be free?

  4. I live in Gurgaon and had employed a driver for 2 months as I was new driver .

    Here mostly you will find people from bengal doing work of driver, maids etc.

    This guy made 8K from driving, his brother an office buy made another 6K and his mom also worked as maid making at leat 4K .

    And he got another driving job 15 days before our agreed end time of employment.
    I let him go as it seems to be good opportunity with stable income.

    Still they lived in a Jhuggi and paid 1K as rent, good savings to tide more difficult times later.

  5. Subra,
    Perhaps, this should be true for all areas in the world. People do survive in all places. It is upto a mind to identify the opportunity and make a living or a killing out of it. I have seen people becoming millionaires in cities which have been termed as zero future prospects… On the other hand I have seen millionaires loosing their millions in the future cities of India. Doesn’t it boil down to a person’s capability and his perception of finding an opportunity and striking gold at the right time ?


  6. Mr. BanyanFA,
    I think subra sirs tone in the article is more towards philosophica side. I mean what he wants to convey is do not crib irrespective of your financial status. I do not think what u r saying is the tone of the article. Great piece!!!!

  7. gbj

    i am trying to say ‘look at how lucky you are’. Once you are in a rich and prosperous place (again comparatively – NY and London for the world, Mumbai and Delhi for India) we ASSUME that what we get is our right. For e.g. both these cities get water from 140 km far away villages. Similarly….other resources. Once u are in the city you assume that all things will be YOURS. However a villager is so thrilled to find it (one girl said she walked 10 km everyday to and fro for WATER). She was thrilled to find a common tap in her hutment…:-). Learn gratefulness.

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