A resident of the city may be called either a Bombayite or a Mumbaikar. Within the city, people often correlate themselves to the nearest railway station on the suburban railway network where they live or work.
Most of the citizens of Mumbai are very liberal and open-minded. The city is consequently one of the least conservative cities of India. Many city-dwellers lead a fast-paced life with very little time for other activities. Partly because of this, the majority of the residents have developed an indifferent attitude to the problems facing the country and the city. However, there are those who take immense pride in the upkeep and development of the city. Most of the city’s inhabitants are knowledgeable and keep abreast of national and international events.
Citizens share an indefatigable spirit in times of crises, a fact attested to by the collective reaction to a recent spate of terrorist bombings and deluges; the affected citizens in areas badly-scarred resumed their businesses in the days immediately following the catastrophes.
What astonishes most visitors to the city, particularly those not native to India, are the unconventional means by which some citizens eke out their living. Dhobis, street hawkers and dabbawallas are some who have unconventional vocations that are the quintessence of the city.
The most common language spoken on the city streets is a mutated form of Hindi, known as Bambaiya Hindi, which is a mix of Hindi, Marathi, English and a few invented colloquial words. While Marathi is the official language of the state of Maharashtra, it is not as widely spoken as Hindi. English is also extensively spoken and understood by most of the inhabitants. It is also the principal language spoken amongst the city’s white collar workforce. As there is a significant population of people from the neighbouring state of Gujarat, Gujarati is spoken by many.
Mumbai has spawned a whole new urban culture of it own. The metropolis has its own local roadside fast food consisting of vada pavs and bhelpuri. Denizens have their own unique tastes in cuisine, music, films and literature, both Indian and international. The city artistically blends western and Indian celebrations and festivals which are celebrated by one and all. Mumbai resonates with a vibrant buzz and is often said to be the ’city that never sleeps’. It also has a famed nightlife albeit with a few restrictions.
In 2004, Mumbai received three heritage conservation awards from UNESCO.