Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai

This post has been pending forever, mainly because I have been putting it off forever. Because writing it, is painful. Because writing it, means accepting things that my brain is still trying hard to get my heart to accept. Because forget writing, even the thought of it makes me start crying every time.

This, is a post with more mixed feelings than a molten Cassata ice cream, if you know what I mean.

Once upon a time in Mumbai, actually, two years ago to be much more precise, I landed up here. And I was one enthusiastic person. Enthusiastic about finally working, about finally living alone, about taking care of myself, about being in a city where I could walk on the road without being scared of getting raped 24*7, actually wearing whatever clothes I felt like, and meeting new people, making new friends, and proving myself, finally.

Once upon a time in Mumbai, I was optimistic, and had dreams.

I did meet a lot of new people, and made some amazing friends. I shopped like crazy, wore whatever I wanted, had more fun than probably ever before in my life.

But at the same time, for a year, everything else in my life went wrong, to an extent I had never imagined possible. I cried, I screamed at the rain, I felt angry with my decisions, my luck, and more than anything else, this brutal city. I was unhappy, and it showed.

And then the scenario changed, jobs changed, and my life changed. I was happy, again. I had dreams, again. I started falling in love with this city, again. The Chopsuey theory finally came true, and I for once in my life, I seemed to be living my dreams.

But, this is my life, and sometimes I feel it likes to screw around with me just so that I have enough cribby blogging content, you know?

Mumbai locals were tried, jobs were screwed, colleagues were hated, decisions were questioned, bones were broken, strength was lost, and character was questioned.

And a decision was made. To pack up and get out. For the sake of pride, confidence, sanity.
And in two days time, that’s exactly what I’m doing. Moving back to Delhi, back home, back with my family.

I’d like to say, back to where I belong, but I’m not very sure.

Right now, at this moment, I’m not really sure of anything.

I’m leaving behind some of the most amazing friends I have ever met.
I’m leaving behind independence.
I’m leaving behind the fruits of the Chopsuey Theory.
I’m leaving behind my life.

Everyone has been super supportive, everyone has been so nice about it. Specially someone I’m hurting a lot by this decision, and all I can say in response is a measly thank you.

Thank you, for understanding me, and understanding that this is what I need right now.

I know I might hate Delhi, I’ll curse the men who think that all women are public property to be gawked at and groped, I’ll hate the extreme weather, I’ll hate the long distances and traffic jams, I’ll hate not having much of a life, and I’ll hate the shitty job I’ll be forced to do.

And I’ll miss you.

I know it could be a disaster, but it is my home, my family, and a clean slate.

I'll be back, hopefully, when I’m stronger.

Till then, I have Mum’s home cooked food, time with my family, old friends, and hopefully loads of northern holidays to look forward to.

So Delhi, look out, I’m coming back!


P.S. Just got the BEST going away gift ever!!! Knock-out pepper spray!!!!  :P

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Home Alone?

At last...

So some time, actually quite a long while ago, when I was still a stupid dreamy eyed girl who thought her life was just starting and all that crap, I had written about why everyone must move out of their homes and live alone at least once in their lives.

Well, I do still agree with most of those points. The only difference is, I didn’t realize until very recently that I wasn’t actually living alone at all. Because throughout my two years in Mumbai, I always had a room / flat mate living with me. And even if you aren’t the biggest of chaddhi-buddys, you always do feel their presence around, and behave yourself, because they can walk in at absolutely any moment.

Now as it turns out, for this whole month, I’ve actually been alone. My flat mate moved out, and I got one month of complete alone time. Yup, living alone in a 2bhk in Mumbai. Yes, I completely feel like a multi-millionaire in this city right now. No, seriously. Do you have any clue how freaking high the rents are in this place???

And so, on Day 1 of being Goddess of a 2bhk, I woke up to an extremely empty flat, and it felt really really weird.

I walked around, expecting to hear my flatmate practicing her opera exercises, or bump into her sleepy boyfriend in his underwear….but nothing. It was empty.

And then the exhilaration hit me.

I was alone, and I could do anything.

So I sat down, and thought really hard. What do people who live all by themselves do? What can I do?

Switch on MTV and dance like a maniac across the house.
Oh, but my flatmate took our TV. Damn.

Walk around naked.
Whoa, that’s something I had definitely never ever done before. So I quickly stripped. And just as I was about to step out of my room, I remembered, the curtains in the hall were my flatmate’s as well.


Fine, so I’ll cook.
She took my utensils with her by mistake.

No plates, no spoons.

Now, I just wanted to crib about being annoyed.
No flat mate.


Well, if you still want to believe that living alone is a must, a simple update…in the last one month, the flushes of both my washrooms have malfunctioned, the thermostat on my fridge has stopped functioning (which, by the way, I only figured out after a curious case of an egg that would refuse to crack however hard I might hit it), and I have managed to miss all my couriers, because they only come while I’m in office, and refuse to leave anything with the guard.

On the other hand, I moved furniture around, got some utensils, made my favourite stuff, had more storage space than ever before, and alternated which bathroom I felt like using. AND borrowed an i-pod and speakers to dance to.

AND most importantly, got some curtains!

Like a queen, y’all!

P.S. I know this is one of those stupidly incoherent posts. It’s my last week here and I’m burdened with enough work to kill a human being. I’m also determined to do none of it.

P.P.S. I just realized the above sentence makes no sense because I never said anything about going anywhere. Okay, next post is gonna have the big news in that case!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

30 Lil Joys of Life

I have spent more than my share of time cribbing and making myself simply miserable. Somewhere along the way, you’re so consumed with your own troubles and sadness, you fail to register the simple pleasures of life. You experience it, as a part of your daily life, you maybe smile or sigh in relief, but at the end of the day you don’t even remember it.

Until one epitome-of-your-miserableness type day, you sit down, and actually think about it. For me it started with a link shared by a cousin. And it got me thinking.

What are the little pleasures of life?

  1. Full fat butter on a steaming hot toast
  2. That last mug of hot water in the bath on a freezing Delhi morning
  3. That good ol’ oil champi by your mum / dad  / extremely generous friend
  4. The smell of the first drops of rain on parched land
  5. A hug
  6. An unexpected message from that someone special
  7. An unexpected day off
  8. Those five minutes between simultaneous snooze alarms
  9. A night of uninterrupted sleep
  10. Hot jalebis / samosas / pakodas on a very dark and rainy day
  11. The perfectly blended cheese-biscuit ratio of a Philadelphia cheesecake
  12. Waking up on a Saturday morning only to realize you can go right back to sleep
  13. Waking up in the middle of a nice dream, and dozing off again simply to continue with the dream just where you left off
  14. Waking up and realising life is nicer than your dream
  15. Figuring out a completely new MS Excel formula (C’mon, this is my list…you really expected it to be over without an excel point?!)
  16. Going through an entire perfectly normal day without any mishap
  17. A spot of shade on an exceptionally sunny day
  18. That first cold splash into the swimming pool
  19. Finding a pair of shoes that fit…perfectly
  20. Finding a long lost piece of clothing at the back of your cupboard
  21. A hot water bottle on a freezing day
  22. Bouncing on an overly-springy bed
  23. Writing on the first page of a brand new notebook
  24. Receiving a compliment after a new haircut
  25. Waking up the morning after a haircut, and liking your weird hair even more
  26. Putting that last tick on your long-pending to-do list
  27. Getting to the TV remote before anyone else
  28. Waking up to nostalgia with a Facebook tag of a really old school photograph
  29. Getting an auto-rickshaw on your first try
  30. Tasting the residual of thick chocolate syrup at the end of your Hot Chocolate

This, of course, is my list. And even as I am typing this, there are so many more I can think of. Take some time, and think. What brings you joy?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

By Myself

I woke up at 6.30 this morning.

I know, that’s news in itself.

But the reason it’s important is the fact that it wasn’t by chance. In fact, I’ve done it before, recently, in the last few days. And the routine goes something like this.

Before going to bed I look out of the window longingly, and tell myself I can do this. I feel happy about the next morning. And then the alarm rings.

After snoozing some gazillion times I finally remember the enthu Shreya of the evening earlier, and groggily drag myself out of bed. And then I go to the window, and look out, apprehensively.

Months of introspection and a lot of awkward moments later, I’ve realized I have some issues that I need to deal with. One of the most basic ones is the fact that at the moment my self confidence is at an all time low. It sounds silly, and if you meet me, it’s not like I’m going to be a mumbling shivering poor soul who can’t breathe out a word in front of you. I can probably pfaff my way through a good long conversation. But only if I can get myself to even get up and make conversation. If I can get myself to do anything at all, in fact.

I’ve been brought up to be independent. It was never a question in my head. While I was never the extremely outgoing types, I was never this shy either. I’ve travelled alone in disgusting blue line buses, lived away from home for over six years, and taken care of myself for over two years now. I came to Mumbai barely knowing anyone here, and I figured out on my own how to travel in the city, how to wage through the monsoons, where to go for yoga, how to shop in a supermarket and somehow carry all those bags home… I was miserable throughout all those ‘how-to’s’…I visited more doctors than ever before, ripped out nails, fainted in supermarkets, and cursed the rains. But I still went ahead and did it.

And yet, for the last so many days, I have woken up at 6.30 in the morning, looked out of the window, and come up with an excuse to not walk down the steps and into the swimming pool alone. There’s either a weird tummy, the maid’s bad timing, too many people, too few people….there is always something. I waited for days for my flat mate to give me company. The thought of stepping into a swimming pool after 13 years, alone, somehow, is scary. So I waited, and waited, for the perfect time, and company. I went once with my sister, and loved it. And yet, I found myself making excuses the next day onwards again.

I don’t know how, or why, but I managed to drag myself out today. The number of people were perfect. My tummy, a little weird, more from nervousness, was deemed bearable. The maid wasn’t expected till later. And I was awake without hitting the snooze button, and finally out of bed.

I still did check out the pool ten times from my window before going. I still thought of turning back a zillion times. But once I heard the lap-lapping sound of water, once I saw the adults using little floating devices to make sure they didn’t drown in five feet deep water, I felt better. I felt I could do this.

And I did.

P.S. I know all this sounds silly, and believe me, it’s embarrassing for me to even come out and say how much of an issue this was for me. But the simple fact is, that it was. And somewhere I feel, that to be able to go ahead and enter the pool again tomorrow, I need to have admitted this. And to know that I can do this. Today and tomorrow. And again.

Well, till the damned monsoons at least.

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