Nefarious Deliberations

Mumbai – The inadvertent abode

My first ever visit to the magical, mysterious city of dreams, Bombay, was when I was 12 years old. I was the quintessential Delhi-born brat (no offence to any other brat out there) and truly terrified of crowded areas (this was before Delhi transformed into what it is now). I was travelling with family and I was averse to questionable smells like human armpits and general garbage and hence failed to appreciate the true beauty of this city. Cut to 10 years later, at barely 23 years old I moved to Bombay for work and that’s when this city became my inadvertent abode.
When I was told that I would be moving to Bombay for work, it is needless to say that I was scared shitless and begged to be sent back to Delhi or stay in Chennai, where I was completing my training. I had presumed that moving to Bombay will be a huge disappointment and a mistake. Not helping the matters was all the “gyan” shared by one of my mentors at this training programme. I specifically remember this guy telling me, “You should take each day as it comes in Bombay. As life can be very difficult at times and you might want to run away!” Well I might as well add that he was right for the first part. You have to take each moment, each second of Bombay, as it comes. Because at times it is as gentle as a stomp on your feet and at times it is as refreshing as the sea breeze.
When I first landed in Bombay, what hit me the most was the humidity. That perpetual dampness in the air that constantly hung around like a heavy curtain. I used to feel miserable at times, missing Delhi and its liveliness. And once the rains started, as much as I enjoyed the first few weeks (because come on which Delhite doesn’t enjoy rains!), I started to detest the sight of those huge black ominous clouds AS IT JUST WON’T STOP RAINING! All those washed undried laundry, 3 destroyed umbrellas and my invariably wet sandals (seriously girls there is no point in splurging on shoes while you are in Bombay). Sighhhh… And rains in Bombay have a peculiar style. It never drizzles you see. When it rains, its like the gods in heaven have unleashed their fury on us for global warming or something (which is true on a certain level).
The first few months were so hard on me that I even considered quitting my job and going back home. But then, as everyone has time and again, I too succumbed to the sheer beauty and charm of all that was Bombay. The first moment was my first trip to the rocky beaches of Band Stand, Bandra. On a stormy day. August 5th, 2007. I wonder why I remember this date, while I constantly forget other important ones.
My friends asked me to go with them to Bandra and I agreed only reluctantly because it was about to rain and I didn’t want to get stuck in some unknown area. I am not sure how things are now at the Bandra fort, but at that time it was open and people would come there in throngs to see the beauty of the Arabian sea or you know, make out in public. We went to the beach and walked all the way from Mannat (Shahrukh Khan’s bungalow) to the fort. It was a windy day and rains were approaching. For a girl born and brought up in Delhi, this kind of scenario is irresistibly romantic and fantastic. I was immediately smitten by the beauty and enormity of the boisterous sea, the humongous waves, the sweet scent of the approaching rains. Then we reached the fort. I was and am still afraid of heights, but that day I climbed up to the top of the fort. The Bandra-Worli sea link was just coming up, so one could still see the skyline on the other side. It was just the sea and clouds until where I could see. The waves were beating around the walls of the fort like an angry beast, trying to knock it down. I saw beauty that day, unfathomable, unparalleled, inexplicable. All of my senses were overwhelmed. Sight, smell, taste, touch. That was the first time, I thought to myself, that Delhi will forever be special to me because it’s where I was born but Bombay is going to change my life.
And did it ever! I met some brilliant people here, made some amazing friends, heard unbelievable stories of courage and perseverance, fell in Love, made a home. Bombay is my home because it is where I found a piece of myself. As cheesy as it sounds, we all know, everyone is looking for their missing pieces. I am not saying that my search is over, but Bombay brought me much closer to my destination. For me it is certainly the greatest city in this world and I am grateful. For the generosity of the people here. For its natural beauty juxtaposed with the concrete jungle. The historical buildings and high rises. For the affluence and struggle. The welcoming sight of Gateway of India. The simplicity and sense of purpose in everyday life as we take each moment as it comes. And last but not the least, for letting me make my home here when I decided to stay back.

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