Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Once Upon A Time in Mumbai

Five months ago, I came to Bombay as a new bride. It wasn't the first time I was coming to the city, but the arrival had many significant undertones. It was the real beginning of mine and AV's marriage, the first time we would be setting up a house together, the first time we would really start to live as a couple. The month following the wedding was a whirlwind of travelling, honeymooning, paperwork, packing, blah blah blah. But November 14th 2012 was the true start of the marriage.

I always knew that our time in Bombay would be short. But five months later, in hindsight, I have bipolar perspectives about my time here. On one level, it seems like an eternity that I have been here, that I have been dealing with the city. And on another, it seems like yesterday that I entered Malkani Mahal (yes thats the name of my building) and was so overwhelmed with the bombardment of information, that I started crying.

I was never a Bombay-hater; on the contrary, on one particular visit (which I also blogged about), I was quite taken by the city. However, at the end of the blog post about the eventful Bombay trip (eventful for reasons which ultimately resulted in me being married) I wrote that Bombay has had no emotional connect for me. Today, after five months of being a pseudo Mumbaikar, I can safely say that Bombay will always hold a prime place in my heart and soul. It was the city where AV and I met for the very first time in life and it's only fair that it has also been the city where we set up our first home, learnt to live with (and tolerate) each other. It was where we devised our own systems of living, own little rituals and routines. It was where we did so many things right from scratch- finding a maid, finding a presswala, a newspaper guy, a grocery store, a parlour (yes it's important!). It was where I learnt that I am responsible for paying the bills, and if I falter, there will be no cable, no internet. It was where I learnt to cook (like BIG pat on the back for moi), and while I have no Masterchef type qualities, and still can't make an above average Sambar (shame on me right?!), I am no longer scared of the idea of cooking, and can manage a halfway decent meal (and I am a certified expert in simla mirch-paneer ki sabzi- just saying). It was where I realized that I am NOT housewife material, and have the potential to turn crazy if forced to sit at home and do nothing but manage house. It was where I worked, and realized that managing house and work is a herculean task (big hug to my mommies who manage it with a huge smile), but it's not really undoable. Your house might be a little messy at times, and you might order in a lot more (especially if you belong to the ungharelu category of yours truly), but if your head is sane, the world is yours to conquer :)

Life lessons apart, Bombay is a storehouse of memories. My first weekend coincided with Bal Thackeray's death, and it was the quietest and 'dead'-est that I have seen Bombay (pun not intended). It was the weekend we celebrated one month of being married. And it was the weekend where I cooked proper meals for the first time, and emerged victorious ;) Bombay, to me, is about long walks to Haji Ali and eating the world's most awesome fruit cream there. High level intellectual discussions with the boss which eventually ended with the phrase "dimaag ka dahi ban gaya". Going to Phoenix practically every weekend for a movie, or dinner, or both, and struggling to find a cab back. The randomest day trip to Igatpuri with the office people, and chit chatting with the sister non stop through the day. Going to Bandra to meet the gang, and getting back at unearthly hours, too tired to even sleep. Random outings to Marine Drive. Showing my mommy around the city. The time we rushed through a dinner at Pizza By The Bay, just so we could have the homemade Parsi ice cream at Marine Drive. The time I went to CST to cheer AV for the marathon (listed in life's favouritest moments). The local ride from CST to Dadar, on marathon day. Brunch at Leopold and walking in Colaba. My surprise bday party at home, where AV managed to pull of a coup, in more ways than one. Going to Siddhi Vinayak, and still feeling awed by it, each time. Discovering Juhu Beach and Matunga with the in laws. The time the gang went for the premiere of Race2 and the madness which followed. Meeting the sister every day at work, and coming up with something new to dissect and analyze every day. Weekend brunches from Udipi. Learning Gujarati and Bambaiyya cultural nuances at work. Play watching. The super long walk to Matunga for lunch on a hot Sunday afternoon...and so much more.

People I met, places I saw, food I ate, things I did- all of it happened in Bombay. But as the Gestalt theory states "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts"...Bombay, has been more than the life lessons, and the memories- it has been life itself. Ciao Bombay- until we meet again :)

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