I once had to make a cross section of an ant hill for a science project in class 4.
So I didnt make it. Instead I had my mom spend all her time in 24 hours working with mud, cardboard and wire to make something so realistic that it’s stayed with me all these years.
I moved to Bombay 14 years ago.
I hated it.
It rained all the time, there were people everywhere, there were no roads, it was filthy.
I was used to just the opposite.
I had had a cocooned life in air force stations, mostly in the middle of nowhere with a school bus fetching me from my doorstep to the school and back.
Bombay had trains.
Hollowed out metal tubes, full of people, hurtling down post apocalyptic railroads with a soundtrack from hell
I could see my life flash before my eyes. Everyday.
I don’t know when it was that I started to fall in love with this city. I’ve been denying it that love for a very long time. I didn’t want to like it because I had conditioned myself to the thought that it sucked.
Last night I finished work at 5 am in madh island.
I had an hour long drive back home. After pulling an all nighter there is very little that can make me happy.
I got into my car and as I drove out of the studio I saw the moon. I could almost touch it. And pluck it. And spread it on a slice of bread. And eat it. It looked…. delectable.
It looked like all it needed was a little string to be a perfect perennial cheese balloon.
There was also the fog…. and the empty roads… and the threat of a sunrise.
The drive back home was spectacular.
That’s when it really hit me how much I like this city.
There is so much you can do in Bombay that you can’t do elsewhere. Yes, other cities are fantastic too, but right now, this is my fantastic. So I’m going to deny other cities their gloating, at least until I finish writing this.
Nowhere else can I go to Asian chemist at any unearthly hour and discuss with the chemist which granola bar is best for 3 am, have people give me detailed directions to Lamington road smack in the middle of motherless traffic, wear tiny shorts and other ridiculous clothes in dava bazaar and have no one pass a single lewd comment while Psingh and I go looking for a human heart replica (don’t ask), go to Leopolds, be able to walk next to the sea (swamp during low tide), live next to all my friends, hate Andheri with all my might, watch a three car pile up and have no one beat each other up, have a bilingual conversation with a policeman because he won’t speak Hindi and I don’t know any Marathi, have worli seaface make me appreciate the rain.
If you could hover above this city, be out of earshot and watch everything, it’d be like looking at a cross section of an ant hill.
Comfort in chaos.
And no matter how far I shoot myself out into the world I know I’ll ricochet back to Bom.
14 years in this city. The best kinda life sentence I could ask for.