I have always liked traveling since childhood though really I have traveled lesser than the most, with my family, friends whatever. I always nurtured a wish, since I had graduated school, I shall pursue this liking of mine, once I am independent. Starting earning on my own i.e. my first journey outside my native place to join my first job was hence more thrilling, as I was brimming with happiness for any future adventure approaching. It was short lived enough, my job i.e. the reason being my particular dislike to the work-life at a plant. It needed a lot of tenacity to bear the brunt of the boss, and then the jabs from the labourers working under you, to survive and push through the corporate ladder upward while working at a plant. Frankly speaking, it was just not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, the little time I had staying on my own, I utilised it to the fullest to travel. I did not explore the place where I was staying myself, as much as I had explored this new city and this new city of wonders was Mumbai.
Yes, Mumbai, euphoric as it is. This city was never the place where I might have wanted to settle at all. Thanks to all the famed bickering of all the Bengalis out there about the sky-high expenses spoiling their lives in the city. Yet whatever little it had given me, it is so precious, that I have to cherish them and my memories with this city forever. It was my second visit to Mumbai, I guess when I met “The Boy”. I had met him a number of times previously, but that was always in Kolkata, my home town, courtesy- his brother. Meeting him in Mumbai was not something I expected to be so discretely overwhelming, till the second time we met. I was broken from a terrible personal loss, which I would never like to indulge into anymore because some mistakes are better kept under the fold never to be revealed, though the fault has to be owned up. At that time I needed a pillar to hold up a mirror in front of me, to reflect back to me dazzling my eyes, who I was really, and my identity. There were none apart from my parents who could have done this better, but these two people, simply thawed me with the love and care they ushered on me. “The Girl” and “The Boy”.
“The Girl”- A strange and hugely pleasant surprise, for me and vice versa (hopefully). We knew each other since school days but we rarely spoke. What I mean is, we rarely spoke and even if we did, it would be nothing more than two strangers bound in the same place by some similar laws and yet so very away. I met her at the IIT Mumbai campus courtesy “The Boy” a long 7 -8 years after moving out from our beloved school. I never could believe myself how much I had poured down on her within such a short period of time we came close to each other. I am an introvert, and have no issues in accepting that and I am not this kind of a person who just pours down everything on anyone who might “appear” as a friend. Apparently she was bound to be much more than that, and I realised that as I spent more time with her roaming about in the streets of Mumbai, searching for restaurants, having good food, doing rounds of “Adda” as much as was permissible in our schedule, and pissing her off with wisps of love aired with my partner. She stood stoutly beside me when I needed someone away from my family to hold me up straight and I can perhaps never be able to tell her how much I owe to her for all those moments, those brunts of my “attention-seeking” self she had to bear. Yes sometimes I am a child and I love to be so, and I love it when the people I love deal with it the way I want them to, or at least appear to bear it without letting me know what shit they are speaking of me at my back. I give a damn about their shitting gossip about me. I just know that I love them. Of course none can have that zenith my parents hold in my life, but they are important too. More important perhaps than they might have been informed, they were.
“The Boy”- I was about to type several adjectives describing him, but I deleted all. Its better I keep those adjectives to myself. There’s a bagful of them and I don’t want them gushing out in such an overwhelming way as might be the floods in the Ganges. He showed me life and how to live it. Not armoured with riches at all. In fact I have no qualms in accepting the fact that we two were the paupers in the city of Mumbai anybody would laugh at if they had heard us speaking about our Wonderful Lively Dreams as we strolled along the streets at the dead end of the night. He was a student at IIT, and I had left my job after sometime and was staying in Pune to find a new one. We had spent more than a hundred golden moments of much dreamed togetherness, all our stories and our beings bound with sweat and heat and love and tremendous care and unfathomable goodbyes and meeting new people and exploring all the good food in the city and finally letting ourselves know how we might love to spend together time that is endless, life that is evergreen and have friends who might become priceless forever.
Together with both these people, I dug deep into the heart of this city. Maybe loving this place might have been inevitable, but I must admit, knowing this city with them had been an experience which, if I had missed would have cost me a lot of much needed goodness in life. Time had been quite deliquescent no doubt. Life takes away a lot from each of us, only to give them back in some other way. These two people showed me the alternative way how to start living life anew and its significance, with the city of Mumbai in the backdrop acting as a catalyst!