Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mumbai Mayanagri’s Mystic Melodrama

This post got featured in the Spicy Saturday Picks on Blogadda.

My flatmate pointed at a white SUV coming from the opposite direction and told me, “Nawazuddin Siddique is often spotted in a white car like this one, and he sits on the front seat.”

I looked carefully at the car, but it obviously wasn’t the actor’s.

A few seconds later, we overtook another white car from the left and I looked to my right inside the car. Less than a couple of feet away, Nawaz sat in the car in a blue shirt and looked at me for a second before looking away.

Lo and behold! What kind of timing and co-incidence was this?

This was couple of days back. It was late afternoon and raining slightly. I was pillion riding on a bike with my flatmate in Versova and we were on the topic of celeb-spotting in Mumbai.

Yes, Mumbai.
  
Caught in an unexpected spell of rain on the Juhu beach, Mumbai
After months of planning, apprehension and discernment, last Sunday I finally took a leap of faith and arrived in Mumbai. For the social media loving person that I am, all my friends immediately knew that I had arrived in the city.

“But why?” many asked.

“The future,” I simply replied.

The 40 days spent in Mumbai last year were nothing short of a romantic affair. Then I had arrived with a lot of fear and apprehensions of being in a new city. The city had unexpectedly been very kind to me. Amidst the time spent at my internship, I had been out with friends discovering the place, looking around to see how different the city is from Delhi. Every little thing felt like an amazing new experience to learn from. I was enjoying the ‘aura’ of Mumbai. In a short time, I had fallen in love with the city and for how well it had treated me. I had left with a heavy heart with a promise to come back.

This one week that I have been here has been quite uneventful, apart from a few things: I have once been drenched in unexpected rains that didn’t stop pouring for over an hour, after I cursed the weather for the first 4 days for being so hot and humid. After figuring out how the touch-screen elevator controls work, for the very first time I stood on the 16th floor of a highrise and looked down in awe. I sat outside the Dominos outlet at Juhu Beach at 2 in the night with a friend and had pizza after being hungry for hours and then cruising the bike through unknown roads just for the heck of it while for some reason the GPS caught no signal.

I spotted a few dahi-handi pyramids on the very day I arrived, with one handi hanging high from a crane near Dadar railway station. I attended my first bloggers’ meet in the city the same evening. The beloved local train coupons have now been discontinued and the all-too-familiar Goregaon station’s old dilapidated building is making way for a new swanky one while my once-too-regular vada-pav stall at the station remains just the same.

Juhu beach this time looked a lot cleaner than the last time I was there - on day 1 of my first Mumbai visit a year ago. The UTV Walk of Stars on the Bandstand Promenade has vanished. There is the Ganpati buzz in the air now. Huge Ganpati statues are being shifted from the make-shift factories to their abodes around the city before the 10-day festival begins next week. The coming few days will definitely be fun, while exploring these yet unexplored aspects of the city.

But there is a huge difference in the previous visit and this one- Probably the mere fact that the previous visit was for a fixed time with a set agenda unlike how it is this time. Although the agenda is fixed, there is no end-date to this Mumbai visit. This one’s not a visit. This time I have moved to this city.

The mandatory selfie after immediate arrival in the city
I spend hours everyday staring at my phone or the laptop and waiting for that one call or email that would kick start things for me. But the mayanagri loves playing its mystic melodramas. When you want to concentrate on one thing and stay focussed, a lot of other distracting opportunities come flowing towards you refusing which feels difficult and accepting which makes you wander away from your goal. Sitting at home hundreds of miles away doing nothing feels okay. Sitting at your flat in the city and not having work to do feels like the city is testing you. But then, the former takes you nowhere, the latter at least gives you a chance.

Within a week of being here this time, I feel that the romance I earlier had with Mumbai has vanished. Perhaps it is simply because of the ‘no longer new’ factor. Or perhaps because of the people I was with last time who are not around now. Perhaps this is a ‘break’ experience that we don’t usually want for ourselves, but it does good to us in the long run. Perhaps there is some learning in this. I can’t stop being positive, at least not anytime soon.

I am certain there is a lot more that this city has in store for me. Perhaps, this is just the lull before the storm. It's a leap of faith after all. 

To satiate his never-quenching thirst for knowledge,

To carve some unforgettable memories in his heart,

And most importantly, because he loves this city,
He arrives here for life’s biggest adventure…
I am all yours now, Dear Mumbai. Be good!
More posts with the Mumbai adventure:
1. #Mumbai: 40 Days of Adventure
2. Delhi-vs-Mumbai: Travelling in a City Bus

3. A Petrifying Experience on the Mumbai Locals 
4. Tales from the Streets of Mumbai
5. One day as an AD on a Bollywood film set

2 comments :

  1. Very superbly said. That too coming from a Delhite- its big compliment for you-Mumbai.
    Mumbai Locals is something- you cant just stop writing about. The train experience is 1 thing that stays with you for life- Do ensure you create opportunities to travel by the local.
    If you are reader- go for Maximum City - by Suketu Mehta. And if your interest persits- i would recommend all Hussain Zaidi books.They familiarize you with the history and geography of Mumbai
    All the best

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The locals- yes. A big train fan here :)
      Thanks for the comment and the book recommendations Viyoma. I sure will try to go through them .

      Delete

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