In 2005, when I was doing my MBA and was new to life in Mumbai, I had discovered those sounds of Mumbai, that defined this city for me. I had written, MUMBHAI then.
Then the dance bars got closed and Mumbai went under floods the same year. That triggered another thought and another post MUMBHAI - 2.
I moved to central suburbs from western suburbs in 2007. The change of one's address in Mumbai, changes the way you live. This led to MUMBHAI - 3. As, I am currently undergoing a transition and will be moving out of Mumbai to Chennai this year, I thought of revisiting this theme and important part of my life.
Mumbai has given me more than I deserved. I made a life, a career and a home with my wife here. I earned few really close friends. There is so much to thank Mumbai for. For the friends it gave me, for the lessons it taught me both in good and bad times, for the man it made out of me. Mumbai doesn't hold back. It allows you to live a hedonistic lifestyle and get all material happiness if you work hard. But it pushes you down and pins you to the ground, in equal measure. Mumbai makes you live with extremities. Mumbai makes you learn to move on. Mumbai makes you learn value of the space. Your space and others'space. Mumbai can be kind, like how it came together in 2005 floods. And it can be equally ruthless, as at times it tries to kill your soul. I remember the incident, murder at 9:20, I wrote about. So Mumbai is what you want it to be for you. Mumbai is not just a city, but an alive and growing organism, which has the ability to consume you, feed on you.
I will always remember Mumbai for three key life events -
2008: I got married in Ludhiana. I brought my wife to Mumbai, immediately after. She helped me remain steady in the chaos that this city is and stood by me when I needed her the most. I don't drive. So when we bought our first car, she was the one who was always game to take me for a drive. Some of our best moments together were those post midnight drives for an ice-cream, listening to music in our car. We explored the city together, its restaurants, its concerts and plays. If not for her, I would have just known Mumbai for its multiplexes and bars. Without her, I wouldn't have survived this city.
2014: We bought our own apartment in Mumbai. A matchbox sized one. But our own place. People say, financially it doesn't make sense. But let me tell you for some damn reason, last 3 years have been most comfortable and happiest. Your own home does that to you. Celebrating festivals have a meaning again. Buying a home in Mumbai means, that you are more privileged than many staying in slums or on streets. Gratitude is something which you can never have enough of. I know how difficult it is going to be emotionally, moving to Chennai.
2016: We became parents. Mumbai has now a cosmic connection with us. Even if we leave Mumbai, it is always going to be my son's birth place. A city which has accepted me with open arms, and gave us our most precious gift, Meharaj.
Sometimes, I crib about infrastructure here, the potholes and such other things. But then, this city gives you something, which no other city in India can give you. Wings to Fly.