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Mumbai is ME

I am a Mumbai girl, quintessentially, literally and understandably.
This is home and somehow even though I will travel, go to other places, live somewhere else maybe I won’t come back once I leave, but I know one thing, I will never stop comparing the world to Mumbai. I also know, Mumbai will always win.
I am an insider; one of them – I understood Marathi even before I could speak it, even before my mother tongue made its way into my vocabulary I knew I had to yell “rickshaw” for me to be transported anywhere from home.

I am in love with this city, whole heartedly and because I do love it, I am the only one allowed to talk smack about it. And as it is with everyone you love, you do not know everything about it. There are places I haven’t been, things I haven’t seen, stuff I haven’t tried – and I can’t wait to find out.

I have lived a partially privileged life, I do not remember the hardships that my parents went through because they made those experiences fun for me. They did not tell me public transport was filthy, they made it fun. They did not stop me from eating roadside food; rather they took me there every weekend so I could absorb it. My love for this city began because of the love my parents had for me.

Today, I can’t live anywhere else. Every place pales in comparison to my city, my home.

Everything in between us happened organically. For the longest time I got glimpses of the city through my parents’ eyes and I loved everything I saw, touched, felt, ate and absorbed. We had places where the waiter knew me (still does), we had a favourite route, a bhelwaala, a sandwichwaala and the likes.

Then I was in my teens. I was trusted enough to travel alone in a rickshaw. I was given enough money for the round trip and I felt like an adult.

School breezed by, and college brought in all sorts of public transport back to me. I had pocket money, and I had to travel. Till this time I didn’t know much. I had a limit, it stopped at my college, mayvbe a little further than that.

Then I joined the grownup world and Mumbai became my oyster.

Mumbai is where I became an adult.
This is where I first fell in love and then fell in love some more.
This is where I realised how much I love the rains and how much the rains somehow loved me.
This is where I fell sick and then became immune.
This is the one thing that I can be confident about; I know this city will do me no harm.

Yes, I am not Mother Teresa. There are times when the traffic, the pollution, the noise and the general congestion gets to me – but I never want to leave.

Rains take away the pain of traffic, music takes away the hurt of waiting.

This is where I was okay being alone in a crowded place, because if we are all alone, we are all together in that too.
This is where my heart was broken.
This is where I found myself again.
This is the reason for my love of food.
This place gave me Bollywood – my ultimate passion.
This city makes me feel safe.
I am an insider, I know what to do and what not to do and what time should it be done and what time it should absolutely be avoided.
I know what to wear and where to wear it.
This is the reason why I dress the way I do.
Trendy or comfy Mumbai makes sure I fit right in.
This city gave me my happy places; places where I could instantly cheer up.
This city opened up to me, showed me the tricks of the trade.
This city gave me my friends.
The beauty here cannot be fathomed and somehow Mumbai thought me how to see the beauty in a state of utter chaos.
This is where I learnt that true beauty reveals itself after the sorrow is washed away.
This is where I knew I wanted to write, because I saw stories unfurl at every corner.
This is where I learnt that if you are nice to a stranger he will be nice to you.
This is where I learned to help and got helped.
I never talk about its undying spirit; I talk about how the people here do not have any other choice but to hustle.
This city is the reason why today I can handle anything – be it food, people or locations.

I am lucky, I have a home, I have people I love and I have a place to be when I want to be alone. Yes, this city has its vices but so do we. This city has given me more than I can ever give back.


Mumbai is ME, because I am and will always be… MUMBAI

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