I have had so many homes, having stayed in so many cities over the last 10 years. It is time for me to move again. 2 months from now, I will be shifting to yet another place. My 4thplace of shifting. This made me look back at the various cities I have lived in and how they changed me.
City 1: Bombay
I moved out of home the first time after completing 12th standard. I moved from the small town of Gujarat, Ankleshwar, to the glamour capital, Bombay in 2000. Having had a big, close friend circle in school, I was excited and looking forward to making friends and being loved in Bombay. Nothing of that sort happened. Bombay made me a loner and a confused human being. Yes, there were people around me but no one was successful in staying by my side while I converted from a naive small-town girl to the smart urban girl. I lost confidence and trust. Misunderstandings with ‘friends’, seeing the obvious dissimilarity between me and my class-mates and skepticism over the observations of Bombay city made me feel out of place. My college mates were smart, happy and lived larger than life. They attended workshops and learnt languages and theatre. I looked at them from a distance and longed to be like them; be amongst them. By the time I finished 3 years of graduation, I had lost trust in people and had no desire of being associated with any human outside my family (my Aunt and little cousin became my best friends and companions). My post graduation years changed by life considerably. I came back in human contact, so to say. I felt liked and loved again. I made 2 friends who turned out to be true friends and are still in touch with me. I stayed away from other people, though. I traveled by local trains, ate outside and studied in the prime area of Churchgate. I never had much money at my disposal (I stayed at my relatives’ place and received pocket money from my parents) and had to spend carefully. Many times I starved because I hated asking money from my uncle-aunt. I began to love traveling by local trains. Earlier I was afraid of them. Later, I got to love the VT / Churchgate / Fort area. I loved walking round and often walked from VT station to my college in Churchgate. My home was in Chembur, which is quite far from Churchgate and I had to change several modes of transport to reach there but I like it, nevertheless. Seemed like I had a life, at least. I remember waiting for many minutes (sometimes even an hour) for the bus (the last bit of my daily journey) that will take me home. I couldn’t afford an auto rickshaw. Yes, this definitely left me frustrated and I often wanted to cry. I loved the street food and street shopping of Bombay. Of course, I stuck to it because of the low money resource. By the time I finished my MBA, I had got a good job, had earned 2 angelic friends who had been with me through the last 2 years’ ups and downs and felt good about making a mark in Bombay. My job posting was at Auranagbad and I felt sad leaving Bombay. Bombay became my love. My total stay here had been of 5 years – the 5 years I fell, got up, learnt and moved on. I keep going there even today and the various spots, bus stops, buses and buildings make me nostalgic.
(Coming up: City 2 – Aurangabad)