Three weeks ago, I was moving to Mumbai. I didn’t know if it was the right decision, I didn’t know if it made sense, I didn’t know if I was going to be successful, find a house, live, commute, work – or if I was going to be happy. In short, I was doing things, but I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.
It’s been three weeks of being in Mumbai.
I moved here for a new job, and hopefully a new life. Tired of the same old routine in Bangalore. Tired of things I have been doing for six years now. Work, home, bike, friends who get married, men who also get married (not to me, sadly enough). And so much more. And so I left. After much back-and-forthing. After much “Do I REALLY want to move?” After many sleepless nights and 3 am soul searching. After many panic-ridden crying sessions in front of my poor dad about the Mumbai housing scene. After much trauma. I left.
Three weeks later, I wish I could say that things are awesome and I’m sure I’ve taken the right decision. But that is as far from the truth as Carla Bruni is from being liked in the Vatican. (yep, it was in the newspaper today, she’s been asked to please stay out.)
I’ve been at work for three weeks, gone house hunting a little and stressed and fretted a lot. Work is…weird. The office I’ve joined is not the amazing, alive, bustling nerve point I thought all Mumbai agencies were. In fact, it can accurately be described as dead. My boss, seems to not smile at all unless looking a slab of beef in the eye. The work is banal and boring at best.
I sort of found a house. Which then slipped out of my hands. And given the tenous boss connection, I wondered if I should move back to safe and cocoon-y Bangalore.
But what would I do there? I moved because of the ruts. Its not like they’ve magically disappeared. They just seem more inviting than the new ruts I have to carve out here. Is that a good enough reason to move back?
I’m sitting here, in my uncle’s house in Malabar Hill – looking out at one of the most beautiful views in Mumbai. The Queen’s necklace. Marine Drive. My uncle is rich. Very rich. Since I’ve come, I’ve tried to look at this view as much as possible since I don’t know when I will look at it again. Mumbai has always been a place where the disparity between rich and poor is seen in shocking contrast. I wonder if hard core Mumbaikars are affected. I ponder on it everyday. And can’t get over it.
When you look at this view, Mumbai looks like an urbane, peaceful, glamourous city. Nothing can be further from the truth. From the weather, to the people, to the acclaimed film industry, this city is a boiling, humid kettle of people jammed together. I am now beginning to dislike the view. It looks so beautiful and peaceful. For me in particular, my current lifestyle feels very deceitful. I constantly feel that I’m living beyond my means. Even though my means are not involved and everything in the house I’m in is through my uncle’s means. I feel like I should be grateful all the time. I hate that.
I’d rather trust the sense of peace I feel in a crowded, jam packed bus – one where everyone has paid 5 rupees and the seats are for those who can grab them.
I moved to Mumbai to get out of advertising. But seeing the kind of money people have here, I wonder if I should be moving back – I really, really don’t know if I can ever make this kind of money to support this kind of lifestyle in Mumbai. In Bangalore, living with my parents, it’s easier.
Yesterday morning, my mother called me. My grandfather, who’s 84, has had a stroke. Till this afternoon, the prognosis was good. Now, they’ve realised he has a blood clot that’s spread to half his brain and is pushing the other half. He was…is my favourite grandfather. Even now, as I write this, my eyes are tearing up.
I’ve spent the last three weeks wishing for home. And debating whether to go back. But I never wanted to go back like this. To my grandfather passing away. And I feel guilty for wanting to go back now. Would he have been well if I hadn’t said “I’m coming back” so many times? Irrational, but when has guilt and fear ever been rational?
Should I be taking this as a sign? Should I stay back in Bangalore? After three weeks of cribbing, I’d slowly reconciled myself last week to giving Mumbai a shot. This….just makes me feel all mixed up again.
I keep asking God to give me a sign. And I keep getting the ones that make me feel afraid and negative. Three weeks into this, I’m still doing things, and I still don’t know what I’m doing.