I had a lot of preconceived notions about Mumbai: Divyanka Tripathi

Divyanka Tripathi, who hails from Bhopal, came to Mumbai 12 years ago to participate in a reality talent hunt, and went back once the show was over. Two years later, in 2006 she bagged the daily soap Banoo Mein Tumhari Dulhan and shifted bag and baggage to Mumbai. The serial was a hit and Divyanka became a household name. Here the actress, who is currently seen in Yeh Hai Mohabbatein talks about how Mumbai has become her new home..

First impression
The first time I came to Mumbai from Bhopal was for a holiday with my family when I was a kid. Post that I came to Mumbai in 2004 for a talent hunt show Cinestars Ki Khoj. At that time I didn’t have a place to stay so two friends of mine allowed me to live with them. They not only gave me space, they also fed and took care of me. Those were lessons in kindness and I felt people are good in Mumbai. I went back after the show and kept coming for some reality and fashion shows. At that time I used to travel by bus because I couldn’t afford a flight and train tickets were never available.

Shifting to Mumbai
It was in 2006 when I bagged the daily soap Banoo Mein Tumhari Dulhan that I shifted to Mumbai. I rented a one room flat and I had to do everything from cooking to washing my clothes. I really enjoyed that phase. I can proudly say that I have lived in a very basic manner in Mumbai.

Preconceived notions
Before coming here I had heard so many things about Mumbai, that it had a westernised culture, people exploit you, etc. I had a lot of preconceived notions. But imagine my shock when I realised that people here respect all cultures. The important thing is you should be comfortable with yourself. I was this simple, Hindi speaking girl, but I wasn’t criticised. That is the best part about Mumbai. Nobody will show their dislike on your face — in other cities sarcastic remarks will be passed. The sense of professionalism here is admirable. Also, if you are sensible and know what you want and how much you want, nobody can exploit you. Another thing I love about the city is the safety and security for women.

Lasting bonds
I have made some long lasting friends here, but they are all from my earlier shows. After all, earlier bonds last the longest. They are like my school friends because my first acting experience began with them. I have some amazing friends like Maninder Singh, Deepa Bakshi, Vipul Roy, Snehal Sahay, Ismail Umar Khan and Manish Naggdev.

Loving the city
Till recently, I wasn’t very fond of the city because I was just working and struggling. I have started loving the city only after Yeh Hai Mohabbatein. There’s no particular thing that I can pinpoint, but this serial changed my life in many ways. Now, with Vivek (Dahiya, husband), I am exploring, the city. We hang out at various eateries like Yauatcha and Thai Pavilion, which are our favourite haunts. We also drive to Marine Drive and Madh Island. I remember going to these spots only for my shoot and coming back, but now I enjoy these places.

I would like the city to be beautified. The flyovers can be painted in vibrant colours. We can do something more artistic because Mumbai is a tourist hub and it will be an eye candy to watch nice colours and beautiful roads when you are stuck somewhere in traffic. If you ask me to describe Mumbai, I would say it’s a city for people who are focussed, ambitious and hard working. It is also the most accommodating city in every way.