So, being the elder one I always thought my life would be easy. Why? Because I always hated attention (No puns intended) , but it didn’t help. This was the last thought which crossed my mind right after the airport fiasco. I should write a bit about how my parents boarded the flight with me to Bombay, to help me ‘settle’ in the new city but I will leave it to your imagination. I saw my batch mates dragging huge baggages together and checking out places to hang out in the city while i was having biryani with my Dad. The chaos kept hovering in between my travel-time playlist, suddenly i heard “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. This is your captain speaking….Mom asking me to book an Uber…Dad Explaining why we don’t have internet on flights…We are soon going to land in Mumbai (City of dreams I whispered)..” while looking outside the window. The first sight, you expect me to say mesmerizing?! Well, as they say the city never lets you down, it was splendid. And I felt like I can hear the sea from the clouds. You can not see anything but houses yet it has uncountable homeless people. The journey from east to west has just begun, while the waves and smell of sea are the constant.
I would skip the first week, which included a serious hatred phase after the first local, first helpless save-me-already phase after 3 hours of traffic, the ultimate failed mission to search a PG in Vikhroli, Ghatkopar, Powai; a place which is not under a station and doesn’t look shady. Half of them looked like Three Broomsticks Inn (U would understand if you have seen Prisoners of Azkaban). The mess-food holocausted taste buds of mine, rose again with the Mumbai street savories bestowed on them, wada pav and puchka ( I can feel hundreds of odiyas and bengolis #AlooPuchkaLovers disowning me). Finally the search for an apartment was over, more on the apartment later (Including clashes with guard Mishra ji, late night birthday celebrations, early morning Sunrise on the perfect view of Mumbai Skyline wagera wagera..). Overall, I wasn’t liking the attachment,I felt, which is growing on me in the lonely air of the city, because as a Pune-kar you are programmed to hate Mumbai. (Pune, You beauty!)
In this city, every deserted street corner conceals a crowd. It appears in a minute when something disrupts the way in which the world is supposed to work. It can disappear almost as instantaneously.
But the words were true, which ought not be mentioned as for them to not be jinxed, still I dare say them and think of them every time I dogged my head out of the auto window at 11 and see the whole city running So fast yet in a sync. I could see everything rhymed , the noise of the traffic, the continuous ‘bhav’ calls in the crowd, the juggles of the awe-struck homeless holding their hands out near the unique Rolls-Royce, the palatable smell street food, the awakening of soul, while blackness of the pollution and crowd colluding your life.
You can never feel alone in the crowd, but you can’t stop feeling lonely at the same time. Every time i saw a group of friends (mostly college students like us, as i can see them with their bag packs and carefree laughters. How much i miss being in college with the group, no words can express that). When you sit there after a tiresome day on the road and watch everything under the sky, and see how it all blends in. All the emotions, anger, frustration, nostalgic memories, the slow beats of every song reminding you of the good old days; when you see a little girl near the cotton candy store, the desperation that you feel to start your childhood all over again, Everything – that is Mumbai! I still loved complaining about the college, mess food and welling up with friends at the Jungle ( No, literally it was). Do you see the pattern?
As rightly said, It is all about discovering yourself
“ It’s not so much what you learn about Mumbai, it’s what you learn about yourself, really. It’s a funny old hippie thing, but it’s true as well. You find out a lot about yourself and your tolerance, and about your inclusiveness. “
I started the countdown the moment my last exam got over “Just 8 weeks, i will be back”. But, just 2 weeks and the city is already growing on me. Now its ” 2 weeks already gone!”. As they say; You can hate the fact that you still love the city, you can hate Mumbai but you shall fall in love with it. All it takes is Time.