It was a soul searching trip across many cities in 3 countries in the summer of 2010, which made me realise that to grow further in life, I had to move out of Dubai. I had tentatively booked 23rd July 2010 as the date to fly when I bought my ticket, and as fate would have it, that date remain unchanged, changing my life forever.
3 years later, I am sitting in my study, looking out at nature, the monsoon rain providing the visual effects and background score, reflecting on my life and how it has evolved. Mumbai is not an easy place, but my friends made it easy for me. They are my family, and have seen me through my ups and downs in the city that never sleeps.
“Why Mumbai?” A lot of people asked. I loved Dubai while growing up, my four years in London at University were fun, but as an adult I was missing something in Dubai. The pulse, the vibe, the energy, was present, but somehow I couldn’t catch it. Mumbai was always home, but would the spoilt ‘NRI’ in me make it my permanent residence? Well, I guess NEVER SAY NEVER!
I remember friends and family back in Dubai joked that I would be back in 3 months. Some even wagered bets. I will not deny the sinking feeling when I was wheeling my trolley to check-in, moving only 2 hours and 20 minute flight away, thankful that both my homes were so close by. I was headed to Maximum city, and I knew exactly why I chose it.
Mumbai is ALIVE, a city forever bursting with energy. We have pot holes the size of craters, the moon would take them seriously! Our traffic doesn’t understand the word traffic, and just stands still. There is chaos on the roads, especially when the Monsoon unleashes itself. But every person you see, has some character. Life is not a right here, it’s a privilege. And it’s that quality which keeps us grounded, makes us count our blessings, while we enjoy the many authentic sights and sounds of the city.
Signs of growth and modernization are visible in every corner, and whether its restaurants, cinemas, the theatre or the old fashioned street food and beach, everything is welcoming with the indefatigable spirit of Mumbai. Yes we complain and whine, things are not perfect here, but then, where are they? Perfection is in your mind, and yes, Mumbai challenges and motivates me like no other city has. I don’t think I would have taken to writing like this in Dubai. Here, life stares me every day in the face and asks me, ‘What makes you so special?’ and I have a different answer every time.
My love for cinema and having access to EVERY Hindi movie that releases, set me aside from many Bollywood fans across the globe who have to wait for DVDs or TV premiers. It also helps having censorship laws which are different from the Middle East, we get to enjoy English films in a more complete way J
We are all a product of our own choices and the people that surround us, and I am no different. My parents were immensely supportive and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have taken the plunge. I would like to thank all those who made the last 3 years a fun and learning experience. I have met some very interesting people, and have celebrated many milestones here. Look forward to lots more in Aamchi Mumbai!