Anyone who has ever been to the city has a story to tell. An aunt who visited Mumbai just once sometime in the 80s, still talks about how her two word Hindi vocabulary of 'aage' (straight/further) and 'oopar' (up) quickly dwindled to just one during an autorickshaw ride. And how it left her directing the driver to go up-up-up to her sister's house.
An aunt-in-law who visited us when we were there couldn't understand how they managed to build the buildings so tall and conceal all the wiring inside the walls.
My mother still recalls the time she shopped for vaazha-thandu in Matunga for varalakshmi nonbu one year. And how she brought it all back to Andheri alongside fisherwomen with their baskets of the day's catch.
I have a sister who is living there and one day some years ago, she lost the keys to her apartment. It was fairly late in the night and she went straight to the first policeman she saw to ask for help. Together they combed the suburb for a locksmith and when they found one, an hour or so later, they brought him back to help her open the door. When she offered to reimburse the kind policeman for his time, he refused her offer and said that he had only helped a 'sister' and how could he accept money in return?
I lived there for a few years. And have my share of Mumbai stories. Tonight I remember every one of them. It's like remembering all the good times when a favourite aunt passes away. Somehow, the second time around the jokes seem funnier. And tears more poignant. May be because you know that what is gone is gone forever.
Take care, Mumbai.