Hello all! I’ve often wondered what’s the right greeting to be used here and quite too often, I’ve started a post with ‘I’m back’. So am using something different here.
Coming to this post, I’ve wanted to write this for a long time, in different ways. But over time, I realized that there’s no point in saying a thing that has already been said in many ways by numerous people.
When you want to talk about Bombay (I know it is Mumbai; but I prefer Bombay), no matter what you try to say, someone, somewhere would have already said that before. This recent post is a case in point. Here, the writer beautifully describes how life in Bombay is a struggle, yet you fall in love with it. A simple look at this page will show what various people from different walks of life had to say about Bombay. Funnily enough, I kinda agree with everything that has been said about this city. I am no different. I am totally in love with this city. It was not love at first sight. It took time. But once that love happened, it has only grown on me.
|Mumbai/Bombay: The real city of dreams|
That being the case, I begin to wonder what endeared me to this city so much. How has it impacted me? What have I learnt from this city? Here are some musings:
1. Mind your own business:
The most striking aspect of this city is how everyone minds their own business. Everyone is so busy here (or atleast, they seem to be) that nobody really has time to wonder what the other person is doing. Everyone minds their own lives and get on with it. I was amazed by this. I can be myself, unabashedly, without the fear of being judged. Not that I care about being judged or something, but this city is truly remarkable in this aspect.
2. Never Complain:
Bombay is not perfect. No city is. Every city has its own problems. Yet, what amazes me is how little people complain in Bombay. The house rents are exorbitant, owning a house here will only be a dream for most, the traffic comes to a standstill on highways during rains, the local trains are almost always full, and so on. Yet, very few complain. They take it all in their stride and move on. A year in Bombay has made me realize that complaining will not solve any problem. This has really made my life better and that, I owe it to this city.
|This pic perfectly sums up the 'never complain' attitude of the city|
3. Leave your egos behind; you are nothing/ nobody/no one:
I may sound like Arya Stark from Game of Thrones, but it is true that in Bombay, you are no one. You may be someone/somebody, but that is only when you get into the league of Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and the likes. Until then, you are no one in Bombay. I learnt this truth soon enough. When I landed a job and came to this city last year, I was over the moon. I had my ego and I thought I was someone. But then, I realized soon that a degree from a top college and a job with a pretty pay package aren’t really achievements to be flaunted. I looked around and found people who have achieved much more, but were still counted as no one in this city. This city can have that humbling effect on you. Even in an area like quizzing, where I considered myself to be reasonable good, I realized my place soon enough. The city ‘s quiz scene showed me that I was an amateur at best, in the face of competition from some of the country’s best quizzers. Whatever little ego that I had in me was gone in the first few months. I realized that there’s a whole gamut of opportunities and to become someone in this city, it would require some real achievement, which would require hard work and dedication. The gist of it all is that this city shows your place soon enough and inspires you to aim higher.
4. Move on:
You may have heard this many times. Whatever happens, life moves on. No city exemplifies this fact better than Bombay. Rain or shine, recession or depression, the crowds that you find bustling in the mornings and the evenings, will always be there. I was really surprised how no rain could stop these people from going about their routine. I learnt a very important lesson there. This spirit of the city helped me get over some tough times and move on. Even when this happened, it was this city’s spirit that helped me get on with life and return to normalcy. We all crib about so many things in our daily lives. I am no different. But there again, this city has brought about a change in me. I no longer dwell on those past mistakes. Whenever I feel low or I feel like cribbing, I take a local train ride to Dadar or Churchgate or Bandra. All it takes is a little walk amidst the bustling crowd or a simple, serene walk by the seaside to get my spirits back. That way, this city has taught me that no matter what, life will just move on and you should learn to move with it.
5. Be independent:
We may be dependent on others for so many things and it may not be possible to be completely independent. But it is possible to live your life the way you want, without depending on others. This city provides the perfect platform for such a life. There are so many things that I started doing independently in this city, that I discovered a new self. I explored the city on my own for the first time. I discovered that there’s no better company than solitude. To be with self, is a discovery from within. I had friends joining me from time to time. I had Vibha accompanying me to the seaside or new eateries sometimes and I had Gaurav taking me to some Hindi films or Sandeep Saw accompanying me to some Tamil or Telugu films, now and then. But my best company has always been solitude. That independency is something that I started to enjoy. It helped me discover a new world and learn new things. I learnt cooking (I cook for myself everyday now and am a decent cook). I learnt to solve the Rubik’s Cube within 2 mins and am learning to solve a 4X4X4 cube next. I began to rediscover my interest in the keyboard. I rediscovered my love for teaching and that has helped me go to TIME and take classes on weekends for students preparing for CAT. There are so many other things that I keep exploring and learning every day that it is fair to say that I’ve gotten used to this independent life that this city has gifted me with. When people ask me about getting married and settling down, I tell them that marriage doesn’t figure in my scheme of things at all. Atleast for now. I am 27 and this city doesn’t compel you to conform to society’s rules like elsewhere. Maybe a year or two later, I may give it a thought. Till then, it’s me and my life. If you’re a girl and if you’re reading this and would be interested in getting married a year or two later, give me a ping. It may work. ;-) Who knows?
Silly jokes apart, what I mean to say is that, in this city, more than any other city in our country, I can choose to live my life the way I want, without worrying about the whims and fancies of the society’s rules and restrictions. I can go to the seaside at 2 AM and take an auto ride back without any fear of safety or getting fleeced. The best part is that, any girl can do the same thing in Bombay. I can get into a crowded local and not worry about getting out, for I know I will be helped out. I can go on and on. I feel that everyone should spend atleast a small part of their lives in this city, so that you understand what it means to be resilient.
With that, I’ve paid my small, long-pending tribute to this marvelous city that has been home to me for the past 16 months or so. With that done, I hope I can get over my laziness and write more of all that I’ve been wanting to write. Best of all, I hope I could get to work on my debut novel. Yes, it’s been on the cards for some time now, but my laziness has kept it at bay. I hope this post inspires me to get working on it again. Hope to catch you all with some interesting post soon. Ciao.
PS: I’ve not been paid a penny to write this post promoting Bombay/Mumbai. I wish that were the case, really. :P
PPS: Ignore that crude bit about marriage. I don’t want strangers pinging me.