Monday, September 5, 2011

Maximum City

I have a strange fondness for Bombay. I lived there for all of 1 year, and that 1 year was probably the most confusing of my life. But when I landed in Bombay a few months ago after a gap of 1 year, this strong wave of nostalgia hit me. In the black and yellow taxi, from airport to parel, that feeling kept getting stronger. The roads, the buildings, the smells, heck even the taxi drivers – everything was so familiar and strangely so mine
And then it struck me, this love for Bombay, where it came from…Bombay was where I think I finally became an adult. Delhi had always been home, with the comfortable cushioning of family, friends and familiarity…Ahmedabad, where I met so many like minded people and had 2 years of unabashed fun was more like a community…Bangalore too was easier, because 11 of us started our careers together, lived together and became each other’s support systems so quickly. But Bombay was where I was truly alone. It should not have been so; my boyfriend lived in the city. But things started disintegrating fast between us. I lived alone for the first time in my life. And it was not pleasant; I remember working till 9 every night, spending an hour in the gym after that just to tire myself out so that I would pass out from sheer exhaustion every night. I remember living from weekend to weekend, during the weekdays my friends and I didn’t usually meet – we lived too far away and it was our first year of work, so much to prove! So it was during weekends that we’d actually chill and party and suddenly those weekends became like us rising out of the water to grab a few desperate breaths before going under again.
It was where I got my heart broken (clich├ęd but true) for the first time in my life. And I want to tell you that I was strong and that I held my head high. But I wasn’t. I was a wreck. But I had this 1 wonderful friend, an unexpected friend who somehow made me forget the mess a little.
Bombay was all about new things, things that Delhi Tanvi would have never dreamt of, and no I am not talking about all that…but more about just being…a day at Colaba, just by myself…walking along Carter Road, observing people…talking to the Sales staff at stores for hours and actually building a rapport with them! Imagine hoity-toity me! Hardly, I think all traces of snobbery were left behind in Bombay…their problems became my problems, and I don’t think I’d ever felt so involved in so many people’s lives. My colleagues tell me they still ask about me (it’s been 1.5 years since I left Bombay) and it’s such a heady, beautiful feeling…to have made a mark on these people!
Bombay to go– never-ending nights…chatty cabbies…navigating ways and wonderful discoveries…kind strangers and random conversations…neediness and heartbreaks…unexpected friends…conversations that made me forget the worst, cigarette breaks …hot gym instructors and first love for watches…new people skills and wee bit more street smarts………………………………. learning how to be by myself, be alone…and for that I will always love Bombay.  If Delhi is the love of my life, then Bombay is that 1 intense fling, the one that you can never quite forget and which makes you wonder ‘what if…’ from time to time…
Someday, I’ll tell you about Delhi, the true love of my life. But it won’t be the Delhi you know; it’ll be Tanvi’s Delhi. And that requires toooo many pages!