So I’ve been out and about quite a bit the past week. No that isn’t the reason why I blog so less. Ideally I had always thought that blogging would be what I did when I didn’t have anything to do. Which of course I thought would be every single day. Then I worried about blogging more than once a day and grew very concerned with how pathetic that may seem to the readers. I read through blogs that had more than one post a day, or a post everyday, reviewed their comments pages with great earnest and looked for signs of pathetic ness. (patheticity?) Then I discounted all the foresight and decided that I must start blogging to atleast give me a reason to write. To be all cathartic. And of course to talk about my city of dreams. Now, almost a year into blogging, I just realized that I have barely 50 posts up. And that THAT is what is truly pathetic.
So a year into blogging sometime now and 5 years in this city, also sometime now. I could just go back to the first post and give you the exact date and all that but I’m too lazy; as you must have gleaned by now. I’d started this blog to get over a bad relationship and continued it for lack of one, realizing that it simply beat calling up my 3am friend and crying about how depressive our lives can get all the time in these troubled climes. And then when I realized that my mind was most lucid, most collected at 3 am. I wrote. And that’s what kept me going. Not that I don’t like talking to you 3 am friend. I do. But I prefer calling you at 12, venting and then writing. It’s so much better that way.
Five years in Mumbai. It was already called that by the time I moved here I think. Such a pity. I would have loved to have claimed ownership to having been here when it was still Bombay. But Mumbai it is. I got around to seeing much of the city this past week because of both work and friends. It was such a relief to get out of Andheri. Not that I dislike Andheri mind you. Andheri has an endearing quality to it that makes its special enough for me to say that I never want to live anywhere but here. It is a love that is borne out of great subjugation. Well earned. Well warranted.
But there other parts of the city that, forgive me the cliché, carry pieces of my heart. Quite literally. Starting right at the south at the Gateway of India, all the way to Andheri. The Gateway of India, The ferries, Elephanta Caves, Radio Club, Colaba Causeway, Mondy’s, Churchill, Sea Rock Hotel, Shantaram. My formative years and my two great loves (lovers) in the city in one sentence for you. I lived in Breach Candy at the time. For my first 2 ½ years and life was as lovely as it could be. Family (well a very broad minded sister and brother in law), no rent, no expenses and yes no income either. But it was all good. At 20 who really cared yes? Oh, I would take leisurely walks down Warden road, past Cadbury house, admire the Benz showroom, visit Haji Ali arm in arm with a lover. Or I’d sit in the crossroads that was next to Mahalaxmi Mandir at the time for hours reading all the books I didn’t have the money to buy. I worked in Tardeo which was a minimum cab ride away, I drank at Gold Coins in the AC Market and Ghetto’s on BD Road, I partied at Pollyesthers and Red Light and then before I knew it, I was thrown into the hell that was Lokhandwala. Family had moved out overseas and I was all Alone. I remember never having too much to drink after the move because I was so scared I’d get into a cab and say Breach Candy. It took me ages to get over living in town and making the mental shift to the suburbs. I hated it initially. I mean who wouldn’t right? Moving from clean pristine art deco town to hades on earth. From an almost posh existence on Warden Road to a putrid PG with a 75 year old psychopath in Lokhandwala. And then I fell in love again and that changed everything. I’d come exhausted at 7 am from a night shoot and find my psycho stinky aunty sleeping in my bed that reeked of her urine, wearing one of my kurta’s and I’d smile, gently wake her up and ask her to sleep in her own bed. I’d happily eat everyday the horridly oily shit at the nearyby Junkha Bhakar, I laughed off almost dying while getting off the Andheri Local when my sling bag got stuck in the doorway and I was dragged along with the train and fell off the platform at the very end, I discovered friends from college who I hadn’t even had a proper conversation with when we studied together because I thought they weren’t cool enough at the time and forged deep and dear friendships with them and through them many more friends. From Lokhandwala to Four Bungalows to Versova. Poptates, Steaming Momos’, Kalinga, Aurus, the Mariott, Lokhandwala Market, Bon Bon, Good Shepard Church. Two years in a visual nutshell. And though the lover didn’t last very long, I had learned to love the city again.
The city binds you to it inexplicably. It erases the memory of your hometown and your past and if you stay long enough, soon even what happened yesterday and makes you live in the moment. And no that’s not a bad thing.