This Independence Day be an independent Mumbaikar!

The city of Mumbai is home to many migrants from across the country and abroad. It is not easy to live and adjust in a place like Mumbai, all by yourself. People leave their families back home and come here for various reasons. That’s one reason why rented apartments and PG accommodations are a way of life in this bustling city.

So for those who cross the figurative seven seas to make this city their home, Shruti Barot offers 7 pointers that will help you be an independent Mumbaikar this Independence Day!

1) Master the travel network

The Railways snake across the city from North to South and across the harbor. With 3 lines: Western, Central & Harbour, it can be a daunting task getting from one end of the city to the other. Bus services like the BEST, MRSTC and NMMT form a close knit parallel network. Technology lends a hand with mobile apps like M-indicator and Google Maps, which are more than you need.  A little bit of homework will stand you in good stead.  Knowledge of travel will be your lifeline for your survival in this city.

2) Be street smart

Every mega city also has its underbelly. Pick pockets, touts and the odd conman can make Mumbai a scary place at times. From the rickshaw driver trying to swindle you, to the shady bystander just waiting for you to leave your luggage unattended; one should in no way fall prey to these antisocial elements. You just need a happy mix of consciousness, common sense and alertness to be street smart – something that is quintessential in a city like Mumbai.

3) Learn basic cooking

You may initially question whether it’s really that much of a necessity to learn to cook, especially with the wide range of options available. From ready to eat packets and 2 minute noodles to restaurants serving delicious cuisines and home – made tiffin services; the options seem to lure you initially. But ask anybody living alone if they can do without the cooking and you’ll get a straight no. While it may seem a tedious task initially and your laziness may subdue the little motivation, learning to make your basic breakfast and snack items won’t do any harm. In fact after a while you’ll really enjoy it and thank your stars for being able to cook in times of need.

4) Choose a strategic residence

Everyone wants a central location to live in. A place which is close to your office, market and means of transport is considered to be supreme luxury in Mumbai. But not many migrants realize this at the time of choosing an apartment. And then it’s too late. One cannot depend on the cabs or autos because at times waiting for a rickshaw is like waiting for the rains. Picking a central location is crucial especially for those living alone. This surely cuts down the stress and makes life easier. At the end of a busy day, you wouldn’t want to travel home on a crowded local, would you?

5) Get a Job

Many individuals come to Mumbai in order to fulfill their Bollywood, modeling, dance, singing, or theater dreams. It may seem an easy way out to live off the fat of your Dad’s bank balance but having some sort of a job would give you a feeling of independence that words can’t describe. Your parents and everyone else would respect you a whole lot more, giving you confidence to pursue your dreams with added fervor. It would raise your self esteem considerably now that you would be funding your own interests.

6) Emergency Contacts

It is always advisable to have a list of emergency contacts stored on your handy smartphone or tablet. This way you wouldn’t be waking your neighbor at an unearthly hour to perhaps locate a 24 hour chemist. List of hospitals, utility bill payments, plumbers, electricians, carpenters and the local ‘chabiwallah’ could really help at the time of need. It would also pay to keep this list on your refrigerator knowing how often our phones are anything but smart!

7) Find a Suitable Pastime

Having a fun activity for after office hours is a great idea because even the best of us know that your friends will not be available to hangout with you on a regular basis. When you initially move in, boredom or homesickness can drive you nuts. So, engaging in activities like yoga, swimming, city club, dance classes or social work may help you kill two birds with one stone – pass time and socialize.

Lastly, there are no set rules for when you move into Mumbai but these tips could give you a head start in the exciting process of settling into a new city!

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