August 03, 2011

Curly Fries

This was meant to be the Goodbye post to Mumbai. But as I started writing it, I realized that I had so many memories of this place that it will remain with me forever and ever and there can’t really be any goodbye. As someone just wrote to me today morning, somehow if you don’t wish someone farewell, you are not really saying goodbye. Mumbai has been good to me, it has taken me on a ride, it has frustrated me and it has hurt me in ways unimaginable only to wash away all my pains.

As I was packing, I felt really proud of the fact that my material possessions do not account for much in this world. All my worldly possessions can be packed into 3 cubic meters of space and then I would have 2 bags to travel along with me. It filled me with a strange sense of relief and power which told me even today I can just walk away – from everything and everyone and nothing would be missed. That freedom to be able to walk away without a care in the world makes a lot of us stronger. It’s like being Jonathan Livingstone Seagull; when you know that you do not have anything to pull you back, you can soar higher than ever.

But more importantly Mumbai – it all began with Wadala Sheraton, where SNDU puts all its trainees to make them believe life is all rosy and nice :) And then slowly the city grew on me. The old office at Backbay, the walks on Nariman Point, the late nights at Jeffreys where G always had to order a Bloody Mary as I wanted the nachos that came free with alcohol, the confusion as to what was so great about Bade Miyan, the absolute delight of slurping on a Kala Khatta and checking if my tongue was blacker than others. In fact, in our fair skin crazy country, that’s one of the few moments when black rules the day. Everything about the city seemed magical at times. And as the city grew on me, I was able to show visitors around the city with a pride that I thought was reserved only for Calcutta.

Slowly I became a Bandra Boy, at least hoped to be. There was no longer any need to travel out as everything you ever need to survive in life, you had at arm’s distance. But that also means that it’s a place that makes you weak. Slowly you forget that sometimes you will not be able to find coffee at 1 in the night. And we roamed the streets of Bandra on our cycles. From Motappanpalya to Bandra, it was one hell of a journey. And thanks to the 4 corners of the amazing Delhi rectangle, you never were short of a friend, either for a movie or ever if you wanted to go dancing.

There was always the traffic, the rains and the slush, spending almost a day if I needed to meet my cousin at Thane, a trip to town that can make one go nuts, friends all over the place and no one wanting to travel out, life can become complex in Mumbai, especially if you do not know when the city is suddenly going to flare up again.

I have made some of my best friends at work in Mumbai, something I would have never thought possible while studying in Bangalore. I have reunited with old friends who had drifted apart; I also have lost friends to the crazy pace of the city.

And while SNDU moves me out and I join Khana Shana Singapore (KSS) I am really not sad that’s it over, at least for the time being, I am ecstatic that it ever happened. (I read that somewhere) And I would go back again to the city one day, even if I can never afford a place to stay there :)

Bombay has been my curly fries – maybe fattening with the complete lack of exercise, maybe unhealthy with all the pollution, but at the end of the day, one bite into it and you are in for an amazing taste that will remain with you for the rest of your life.

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