I hated Mumbai. Yes. With its crowd of people literally running for daily survival, its humidity, its monsoons and the associated floods , pollution and traffic and what not?? Mumbai, for me, was the most unlikely place in which I would ever want to live. All that was set to change in 30 days.( Rapidex style).
Soon after my IPCC exams, I had been on a vacation to Mumbai ( Vacation essentially means spending your time in your Aunt’s or Uncle’s place and goofing around and having fun with cousins and NOT the sun-tan seeking beach vacation)
Three days was maximum enough for me to change my mind . I had fallen in love with the city. I knew I had a thing for cities with strong ” pre-independent historical background” ( I.e., something to do with the effects and impact of the British Rule of India) . For example, merely reading the English names for the roads and streets and landmarks in Chennai would give me some sort of “pheelings” ;).
I knew that Mumbai had welcomed me with great warmth which we would never show to the one who hated us. From the iconic Marine Drive, the Gateway of India, the bazaars and shopping streets, the Haji Ali Dargah and also that juice shop there, and of course the vada pavs and the misal pavs , every single thing of Mumbai amazed me. The 30 days went by in what seemed like 2-3 days and I had to return to my home down south. But even now any mention of Mumbai in newspapers or television really excites me.
Mumbai is a city known for its brotherhood and the show of unity. Whatever adversity that comes to the city, Mumbai bounces back to normality in a day or two.
I hadn’t watched Wake up Sid then, so I was saved from getting obsessed about the place. But that too happened eventually and I was left longing and yearning for a stint in the City.
My dad had always said that one who has survived a life in Bombay would be able to live anywhere in the World. I am one among scores and scores of people who are waiting for that chance. Sigh!! Its been 3 full years and am still waiting.