Anmol Soin(20), completed his third year in BA from St Xavier’s College with a major in economics this year.
Why he chose the college: I did my schooling in Ludhiana. I wanted to pursue economics and move into a metropolitan city. I did not make it to St Stephen’s in Delhi and my next choice was St Xavier’s.
Move to the college: It was in 2008 that I moved from Ludhiana to Mumbai —from a smaller business town to an extremely crowded and big one. I stayed at the Xavier’s Boys Hostel.
First few days at hostel: I was pleasantly surprised when I came to know that there is no ragging culture in Mumbai. On the first day of college, my seniors took me out to watch a football game, which was really a surprise. Where I expected some beating, thrashing and a hard time, I got a treat!
Getting to know the city: I did get a culture shock initially because the atmosphere and the people here are very different – they speak in a different language and eat different food. While I got used to the new version of Hindi and English here, I have never been too happy with their vada pavs or other street food.
I came from a place where I could drive my car around. Though the transport in Mumbai is very convenient and efficient, I had two bad experiences in the local trains — once I was pushed off the train and the second time, my wallet got stolen. Ever since then, if I have the money, I choose taxis over trains.
However, it is not difficult to get around Mumbai because everyone is accommodating and helpful.
Getting comfortable in the college: It wasn’t tough at all to make friends in college. I found that the curriculum here is exhaustive but easier than that of Delhi University (I have gone through the DU curriculum and books). That’s a good thing because it gave me plenty of spare time to pursue my own interests and get involved in my subjects. I think our faculty at Xavier’s was awesome.
People of the city: I found that at least in the south Mumbai colleges, the crowd is very cosmopolitan. I also find the people here are relatively more tolerant than they are in Delhi. Something interesting: during my initial days at Xavier’s I got into an interesting and long debate on politics with another student. Only 10 days later did I come to know that he was Aditya Thackeray, son of Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena leader.
Lifestyle it offers: Mumbai gave me the space and time to do well in extra-curricular activities. I was the chairperson of Model United Nations for three years and this year, I am the president of Harvard Model United Nations. I also got interested in theatre and became actively involved with dramatics at college festivals. I also worked in the production team of the National Centre for Performing Arts.
It is these co-curricular activities that have helped me secure admission at Warwick University in UK to pursue a master's degree in international relations.
Whether you’re the kind of person who likes a relaxed life or a busy one, Mumbai gives you both.
Fun things you did: I was once the contingent leader at IIT Powai’s festival Mood Indigo-2010. Organising things, running around campus got to be quite hectic but memorable. I remember moments such as waking up at 3 am in the morning and going to a kababwalla shop for a snack. Moreover, I’ve made numerous weekend trips to places such as Lonavla and Madh Island.
Top hangouts you would recommend: Blue Frog Cafe, Theobroma in Colaba– delicious food and would recommend the Egg Benedict there; Hard Rock Café since we are students and have a shoestring budget sometimes so we just go and enjoy the music there; Colaba Causeway has some nice places such as Café Leopold. But here’s one piece of advice: Never go shopping with girls!
Where do you go to for learning more about the city/about the country/to gain more knowledge? The National Centre of Performing Arts Library, Chattrapati Shivaji Museum, Churchgate Station Museum and the Victoria Terminus are some of my favourite learning venues.
What do you not like about the city? The street food and crowds in local trains are some things I dislike. Though a cross-cultural city, some areas are dominated by certain communities and can be intimidating for the others.
I got into an interesting and long debate on politics with another student. Only 10 days later did I came to know that he was Aditya Thackeray, son of Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena leader
Anmol Soin, economics student