As compared to some of my friends from Delhi, moving to Mumbai was easy for me because at the end of the day, whether Delhi, Mumbai or any place else, I was away from home. The field I have chosen as a career demands my presence here, and I can’t help it.
Moving cities isn’t an easy task and most people avoid it. It’s usually the home base that comes by default and the work place is chosen accordingly. Someone who has lived their entire childhood and college life in one metro city, wouldn’t want to leave the comfort of home, friends, localities and everything that comes with it, to move to an unknown and different metro city altogether for getting settled with a job. But then it is completely subjective and non-conclusive.
|Decorations for Diwali on a street in Lower Parel, Mumbai|
Scenario 1- Every single day in the last 5 years of college, I forced myself out of bed in the mornings and somehow struggled to reach the first lecture. The graduation years I lived less than a 100 metre from my college and so 15 minutes used to be enough to wake, freshen and reach college all dreary eyed. The two years of Masters made me take a crowded DTC bus to the university and every single day I would curse the alarm for ringing and then my mom would call me up to make sure I was not tempted to bunk college again. The (Delhi) winters used to be worse. Who wants to get out of the comfort of the blanket and room heater and set out early morning for a class? (Taking a bath in the mornings was absolutely out of question!) And yes, ‘Breakfast’- Well, what’s that?
Scenario 2- The stark and surprising difference is actually visible to me since the day I joined work here in Mumbai. I set 3 alarms but wake up without even snoozing the first one. I take a bath every single morning with cold water (I know exactly which of my college friends are laughing right now!) and leave home to catch the 9 AM train to work. Most days I grab a vadapao at the station (either origin or destination, depending on my mood) and the 40 minute train journey is spent reading a novel (Because I was too bored of listening to the same songs on my phone and more importantly, since motion sickness doesn’t affect me on trains, I am trying to make proper use of time by re-cultivating my reading habit). I reach office 20 kms away on the required time every single day.
I am still trying to figure out what went wrong with my system in less than 6 months between end of college and start of work!
Is it the Mumbai weather that even in the 3rd week of November shows no sign of turning pleasant, let alone bring some chill in the air? Is it the constant sound of traffic from the main road that passes right in front of my society that bugs me at a subconscious level? Is it a new found excitement to work in a fun environment while doing what I have always wanted to do and getting paid for it? Or is it something that would fade slowly with time and I would be stuck in the ‘Wake-Go to work-spend the day-come back-sleep-wake’ cycle?
Lately I have done a lot of things that I thought I would never do (for example: working in a corporate media company, having a regular source of income, etc). And so who knows; perhaps only time will answer the ‘what went wrong’ question?
Mumbai doesn’t feel new any longer. The strangeness is gone. Mumbai feels as much as my own city now as Delhi did for 7 years. And surprisingly, there is a bigger welcoming feel here in the Mayanagri.
On days that I have left work surprisingly early, I have loved going to Marine Drive and sitting there for a couple of hours all by myself while having Naturals ice-cream and enjoying the soft breeze. I have tried items from the Marathi cuisine and found some really good (Check out the vada-misal-pao) but I really miss the aloo parathas, chhole bhatoores, and the absolutely normal roti-subzi. The Marathi still goes completely over my head and I am used to ‘boss’ instead of ‘bhaiya’ now. Commuting here is a lot more convenient and easier but I hate the traffic and the congested narrow roads. And of course, most importantly, I miss the Delhi winters and the chance of wearing my beloved hoodies.
I was never religious but I have always loved new experiences. And Mumbai’s festivities are surely very different from what I have known from elsewhere. I arrived here in the festive season and was part of the festivities in a much more intricate way than I ever was in Delhi. Travelling on the rooftop of a bus for Ganpati Visarjan at 2 in the night, witnessing Garba dances at every street corner every single day of the Navratra, not getting to see Durga Puja pandals in abundance, high rise buildings being lighted up for Diwali and Laxmi Puja being performed at office and everywhere else, the market near the railway stations being completely redecorated for each of the festivals- it has actually been fun to witness it all! (Diwali at home is very different- check this post)
|Garba dance at the nearby society. Scenes like these could be abundantly seen across the city during Navratras|
Moving to Mumbai liberated me of the troubled thoughts. I know a handful of people in the city, mostly college friends, and for some reason the ‘forced’ loneliness of Delhi is no longer there. I am a dedicated worker but I am trying to make sure work doesn’t engulf me completely. I take time out to meet friends whenever they want to and surprisingly now I mostly struggle to find some ‘me’ time.
I moved here by choice and although right now I am not doing what exactly I meant to do when I moved here, I am sure things will take the right course, the way they always have. Perhaps it’s too early to pass a judgement. Too early to say if things are going in the right and desired direction. But yes, this sure is a new dawn of the Mumbai way of life and I am here to live the experience.