NoBo, SoBo and NeBo

Updated: Aug 14, 2019, 21:38 IST | Rahul da Cunha |

Till last week, there were two types of people in Mumbai: those who live south of the border (SoBo-ites) and those that reside north of it (NoBo-ites)

llustration/Uday Mohite
llustration/Uday Mohite


Till last week, there were two types of people in Mumbai: those who live south of the border (SoBo-ites) and those that reside north of it (NoBo-ites). What is this border, you will ask? It is the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. (You could argue that it should be SoMu, i.e., South Mumbai, and NoMu i.e., North Mumbai, but it is not to be yet.)

The cultural gap between residents of these two pieces of real estate, are as different as Pluto and Saturn. Many SoBo kids implore of their fathers, "Dad dad, listen! [SoBo kids don't say 'Papa', according to NoBoites]. Let's go for a long drive on Sunday."

"Okay son [SoBo dads don't say 'Beta' or 'beti'). I'll take you to see the tenth wonder of the world, even more wondrous than the Pyramids of Giza." And they go to see the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.

"But dad, can't we cross over the Sea Link to the other side?"

"No, no, no, son, impossible. First of all, you need a visa to enter NoBo. Also someone told me they have mosquitoes there. We don't want to get malaria right, son?"

"No dad."

The SoBo mother chimes in, "Also, dear children, they have traffic jams and potholes."

The NoBo family has a counter conversation that goes like this:

"Papa, papa, what is on the other side of the bridge?"

"Beta, there are foreigners, aliens and rich people."

"Papa, there are no Indians there?"

"Uh beta, they are supposedly Indian by birth, but they communicate only in English and don't know anything about India, only the UK, the US and France. I believe their currency is the Indian Euro."

Recently, there is a large part of NoBo that has come into prominence. This is called New Bombay, or NeBo. (Till recently, if a SoBoite by chance went to NeBo, he would transit in Bandra and suffer from jet-lag on his return.)

Last week, NeBo filed a serious petition:

1. They demanded that they be considered separate from NoBo.
2. They demanded they be called a river.
3. They wished to be entitled to special sanctions.

In a historic move, UNICEF is considering that NeBo be deemed a heritage area. You see, you cannot access NeBo by train or road anymore. The only mode of travel is boat, a desi version of the gondola, only closed. But obviously, there are teething problems.

  • Kaali-peeli boats are going on strike, arguing that the Uber-Ola ones are putting them out of business.
  • Residents wish it to be renamed River NeBo. They are firm that they don't want it to become Mumbai's eighth island, because islands, they argue, have land mass. And in River NeBo, the land cannot be seen.

Dear reader, think of NeBo as the Venice of the east. The tourism ministry of Maharashtra is petitioning for it to be considered a huge attraction. A minister who wished to remain anonymous said, "We are planning a bridge that will be built in the air, connecting NeBo to NaPo."

When asked what NaPo was, he answered,

"Nariman Point."

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at

Catch up on all the latest Crime, National, International and Hatke news here. Also download the new mid-day Android and iOS apps to get latest updates

Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from


Maharashtra Elections 2019: Pankaja Munde and Dhananjay Munde battle it out for Parli

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK