Today, as I sat comfortably in a car heading to office, my new Ray Ban aviators (Yeah babay!!!) shielding me from the sunny concrete jungle outside, it suddenly occurred to me that I have actually been in Mumbai for almost one and a half years now. Now I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if you had been anywhere near me, and had to suffer my raves and rants about how much I struggled alone in this new city initially, you would really beg to differ. And more importantly, what this really meant to me was that I had actually managed to survive two complete cycles of that dreaded season called the monsoons.
So I spent the great Monsoon ’10 actually yearning for sunlight for once in my life. I would have nightmares about walking a kilometer through gutters with dead rats around me and cars splashing that gutter water right on my face. And then I would wake up, and walk a kilometer to office through a street which was pretty much an open gutter with dead rats and splashing cars. And it made me angry. At everything and everyone. It made me angry at the government for such crappy infrastructure, it made me angry at the auto-rickshaws that refused to ply, it made me angry at all the Mumbaikars who loved this disgusting worm-muck cocktail of a city. And I huffed and puffed and ranted through it all.
I was in general a much happier person in 2011, for a variety of reasons. New job, new apartment, new life, new me. And a whole lot of love. But even as I blamed 2010 for all my bad luck and bad decisions, it was with great apprehension and distrust that I approached Monsoon ’11.
And then I was presented with that beautiful gift, something I treasure more than anything else in the world.
My new umbrella.
Now, I could just put up a pic of the umbrella for you, but then some things are better left to imagination, don’t you think? So here goes, I’ll describe it for your brain to conjure a perfect image of it.
It’s huge, big enough to cover two of me, and believe me, that’s big!!
It’s dark blue, and…take a deep breath...has little white hearts all over it.
And the cherry on the yummy cake….it has a pretty white frill at its edge.
Ok, stop rubbing your eyes. You read right. I’m carrying a frilly umbrella with hearts. And it’s not plain black. I’ve even been called Mary Poppins because of it (well, there really can’t be any other similarity now can there?). But you know what? I absolutely LOVE it.
I love it for all the love with which it was given to me. I love it because it makes me feel protected. I love it, because, well, it’s magical.
No, no, not that dreamy sort of magical crap.
It’s a real magic umbrella.
In the whole of Monsoon ’11, in which I did take an auto to office most days, in fact travelled all the way to a garbage dump on the other side of the planet for a few months even, I must have used that umbrella a total of some five times. I always had that umbrella with me. But it always ceased to rain for those few moments between the time I would step out of home, and step into a rickshaw. AND, I would get a rickshaw. I-kid-you-not.
Magic, I tell you.
And a whole lot of love.