This is the 147th post. I'd be lying if I said I'm not dying to reach 150. I could cheat and do the thing i sometimes do out of genuine feeling, post lyrics from a song I love, or a poem that touched the heart. But I won't. I'll look to reach there with a potion of thoughts that my own mind concocted.
I'm just back from a deliriously wonderful evening with Palli and Pangal. Conversation with a woman about life, love and sundry others to the accompaniment of fantastic music while our tired butts were sunken into the comfy couches at Book Cafe over Hot chocolate with Marshmallows and cheesy pizza is as good as it gets. And just when we thought it couldn't get any better, dropping in on Pangal and spending the next 2 hours loudly karaokeing to trashy english music (read boyzone, backstreet boys and even britney!!) and classy hindi music (RDB, B&B and Euphoria) was clearly the highlight of the day we hadn't anticipated. Seriously, if the voice of 2 other people screaming "Roobaroooooooooooooo" with you doesn't send you into throes of utter happiness, what will? :D
It makes me appreciate the city I live in even more than normal. If at home, it'd take me an hour to get to a friend's place on a weekday and another hour to get back. I wouldn't ever make weekday plans given the status of evening traffic in Bombay. I have nothing against the city i was born in, i just really love living here and the many conveniences it offers.
Seriously, someone once asked me if i had any material wishes. A car? A house of my own, perhaps? With a garden maybe? I thought about it a LOT and said no ... I don't think any of those things are aspirational to me. I missed to see how the simple everyday conveniences this place offers are what I found aspirational. And having them made me take them for granted.
Let me hence reiterate. I love the fact that I can step out at 2 am and not worry about my safety. I love that I can drop in to visit a friend on a weekday and get back home without being stuck in agonizing traffic. I love that I can live my weekends to their fullest coz i don't spend 50% of my time in traffic and travel. My love for this city isn't rooted in cold convenience. Its what the convenience brings to my life that I value. The ability to connect with friends as often as i wish. The ability to not treat travel time as an unwanted side effect of the job i love so much.
To those who tell me I'm wrong about Bombay: This is MY take based on MY experiences in Bombay. Pls don't judge. Its my experience i talk about, likely not yours.
And don't get me wrong. I love Bombay. For its vibrance and warmth. For the many friends who live there. For my family. But the agony of trudging to anyplace of value always left me too spent and drained to enjoy any of that. My south and central bombay friends laugh at how im a suburbanite. How i live in a "gaon". How they need a visa to get to my place in Bombay. Oh yes, I know this is all in jest. But what they don't get is their Bombay is very different from mine. Where only taxis ply. Where they could hop into a family car and get where they wanted to in 20 mins. Good for them!
But those convenience theories on bombay never applied to me as i grew up. Seriously. My folks couldn't afford a house in the swanky parts of central bombay and we lived in the suburbs. I travelled 3 hours per day through crowded local trains to attend college. EVERYDAY for SIX years. And then struggled to stay awake through the exhaustion and study and do family time as well. Just the memory - OUCH!
Yes i loved train journeys where i made some of my best friends. But i also remember being bogged down too many mornings hoping i could just skip the ordeal that lay ahead! I remember mom on weekends, wondering if she should drop in on a sister who lived 20 miles away simply coz weekends were the only time she had - to rest at home and escape the travel, and no matter who needed her, she was just TOO DAMN exhausted to head out in a train ONCE again! (She still did. Power to her!)
I know that if I ever move back to Bombay, I'll not endure 30 years of train travel like my parents did. I know I'll wanna live someplace close to work. I know my sanity and peace of mind rests on my ability to do the things i love and meet the people I love. Without having to spend 3 hours getting there. I just hope that when I'm back, I can afford to live in the Bombay I hear so many people rave about. That the vibrance of the city is not dulled by the sheer effort to survive daily life. Pray for me!
P.S.: No im not moving now! This post was just triggered by a sweet 10 min cab ride back home from Palli's home marvelling at how wonderful it is to be on a free highway with no honking in my ears and fumes in my face. :)