It occurs to me as I drive past the familiar sight of lovers snogging by the sea, and fish markets buzzing with black flies, and beaches strewn with everything left over from yesterday, that I am Bombay. That I am that troubled and resilient and hurried spirit of the city, and I will always be. I am as starry-eyed as Bombay itself, as welcoming as the city of dreams, as steadfast, as determined, as persistent as Bombay, & the many Bombays with a common spirit; a common soul.
And, it occurs to me as I arrive in the glass and winter air of Gurgaon, as I walk past the neatly lined shops and as music fills the air, that I am not a Bombay girl. I like Gurgaon, I like the eclectic mix of people that crowd the food court at lunch hour, I like the morning bustle at the elevator, and I much prefer the way the city smells. Gurgaon will always be another home. And, it will forever remind me of a city that welcomed me. Albeit, a little gingerly.
I realize now, and perhaps a bit sadly, that I do not belong in Bombay. That Bombay is my home, and her people my succor- but I am not confined to her walls, and her seas. I want to see the world. I want to live the world. And, I no longer want to be restricted by everything that makes up the monotony of Mumbai, the maze of cars, same old bars, Goa, everyday faces. I do not like a life in straight lines, comfortable routines…
And, most of all the monochromic lives in Mumbai, we begin to lead.
I am not a Bombay girl then, but I am Bombay.
I will carry her fighting and unending belly-fire everywhere I go. And, when all fails, the sound of her sea will lull me to sleep.
[In honour of Mumbai’s resilient spirit, and those who died in Mumbai on 26/11. “In memory and faith that peace can come on Earth as it is in Heaven.”]