I sit in the view of pouring drops ferocious from the sky, in the nook of my house. The patter of rain acquaints itself with the land’s surfaces. Yet, this moment filled with utter delight still seems to have a lack to it. Looking out but observing in, I try to find the missing piece of this perfect sight and certain moments fill up my heart with a pump of nostalgia. The sight though perfect, I realised, lacked the view of palm trees rejoicing in a fresh bath. The platter of rain hitting many surfaces but without a rickshaw on the run. The sounds didn’t seem complete. I sit in the comfort of my home, but the struggle from the last monsoon to reach my destination stayed as memory. You see, the thing about Mumbai is that every experience of life, even one that’s experienced numerous times in life, becomes very different when it takes place in that unique city.
Mumbai in its own idiosyncratic way has the potential of showing the entire world to you within its boundaries. With every area filled with different cultures, sights, people, languages, food, architecture and specialities. Riding the local from north to south Bombay is almost equivalent to travelling the entire country. It doesn’t end here, you enter South Bombay and your aspirations of time travel come true in a walk. A beautiful fusion of historic architecture, Parsi culture, quaint lanes and the modern times, it almost feels as if every building has a story to tell. At the end of the day, you will always find people by the Marine Drive. Catching a few moments of slowness after trying to catch up with the city’s speed the whole day. It almost feels like a union with everyone reminding you that we’re all in this together.
I always found calling Mumbai the city of dreams is oversaid. However, it’s the moment when you are on the sealink and you see in front of you, a hill, topped with a slum. A place where the struggle is the essence of life yet glorious in a distinctive manner. With brightly coloured houses and its background embellished with skyscrapers and residences of the Forbes toppers- it makes you realise in that second with the sea breeze drafting by your face, that everything indeed is possible in this city of seven islands.
You see over time you find oneness with the constant bustle, people and small living spaces. Such is the essence of the city that you agree to put aside a lot of known comforts of life. You start finding happiness in the 650 square feet space that you now call home. A wise friend once said, there is beauty in being at peace with the discomfort, and I must say it’s an incomparable feeling.
The lanes of Juhu. Roads of the south. The breeze of the sea. Bistro’s of Bandra. Wobbles of the autos. Essentially, the people you meet in the city. Mumbai acquires this part in your heart just like a lover and makes you feel a constant calling when you’re apart.
It’s definitely not all rosy in the city of dreams. It comes with its monsoon of problems and new challenges. It changes you as a person. So when you get out of the city, you live with a new confidence in yourself – if I could do it in Mumbai, I can do it anywhere in the world. It breaks you down at times. Makes you feel lonely in a city of two crores. Yet the lessons it teaches you, the freedom it allows you to have, will stay for a lifetime. No matter how much time you spend there, Mumbai will always have something new to teach you.