Update: Once again, I’m writing the blog in office. I would’ve written it earlier, but I had a really long marketing meeting in the morning.
Anyway, on the way to office today morning (in the HK MTR), I was thinking about how different life in HK is. I mean people do different things to express themselves, they visit different places and they follow different rules of etiquette. Taking it further, I thought that life in all cities must be different. So, here is a list of a few cities I know of that have widely contrasting yet interesting styles of life.
The capital of India is one of the two places to be for people with ambitions, especially political ambitions. Delhi, or Dilli, is a city that is also known as mini-India because its population is a motley group of people from across the country. In the 90s and up to about 2006 (when Delhi Metro began), people would usually have to drive for about an hour or an hour and a half to get to their offices, or maybe even take the local trains (electric, can’t remember what they’re called). I cant comment on the traveling time now as I haven’t lived there in recent times. Otherwise, evenings would be spent at home watching TV or going out for dinner. Though rarely but if inclined, one could catch some theatre performances or watch an art show.
Known for Bollywood and mafia, Mumbai is actually the heart of India. a fast-paced city where hours turn into days and days into months at lightening speed. Hearts laden with hope, thousands arrive in Mumbai everyday to ‘realise their dream’. The epicentre of the Indian economy, business headquarters form the bulk of this city’s skyline. For me personally, it was the first place where I saw apartments :). Traveling means a minimum of 2 hours, either driving or by the ‘Mumbai local’. Most evenings would be ruined simply by the travel time. If you have energy after that, there is no dearth of art shows, exhibitions and theatre performances. And when all else fails, a stroll along Marine Drive or at Juhu Beach is the preferred option.
The first phrases that come to my mind are ‘vacation’ and ‘retired’. A laid-back place where the markets shut down at 9 pm (actually, that was the one vivid impression I had once we shifted from Delhi to Chd). Initially, when we had moved there, it was a pretty quiet city, with distances so small that it would take me 7 mins to get from home to college and probably 20 from one end to the other. However, in the last few years, the situation has changed. The city now boasts of a lot more corporates and thus the pace on the whole has picked up. Traffic jams, an unheard of commodity few years ago , are increasingly becoming the norm. Yet, Chandigarh has managed to preserve that charm of a ‘retirement house’ or a ‘resort’.
Truly a world city, HK citizens are mostly expats who came to Hong Kong to either succeed professionally or gain international exposure. The last three months that I have lived here, have given an absolutely different view of life and the world. Public transport is highly efficient, infrastructure is brilliant, working etiquette is extremely professional and parties are wild (that’s what I’ve heard). In HK, life means work as much as play. So, while you will see people work really hard from 9-5 every Mon-Fri, you will also see them freak out at all other times. It’s extraordinary how many opportunities one has to keep oneself occupied-exhibitions, museums, workshops, seminars, places to visit, festival celebrations, theatre, cinema, etc. Honestly, to survive in Hong Kong, the two things you need are a daily planner-to organise how to fit in everything, and a helper at home-to take care of mundane daily activities.
New York is to the world, what Mumbai is to India. The Big Apple is probably the biggest ‘badass’ city in the world. Now this is one city that I felt just bubbled with enthusiasm and energy. Isn’t that what everybody says? But believe me, it is the truest (Webster) thing you will hear. Most of my admiration for NY, I have to admit, is based on what I see in movies. But, somehow, NY has captivated me like no other city. The Brooklyn bridge, Manhattan, (utterly bitter) Starbucks, the underground, Times Square and the UN Headquarters – ah, the landmarks of NY.
So what do you think? Where do you want to live?