I’ve been told my love for Mumbai comes through in my words. It’s true that being of & from this city is a big part of my identity today. It wasn’t always the case.
Through my 20s, I saw my future move outward. As my identity expanded from the small neighbourhoods & attitudes I’d grown up in, my ambitions did too. I was influenced by my parents, neither one a native Mumbaiker so with no more ties to this city than practical considerations.
I fell in love with Bangalore but true to the pattern of my love life, it turned sour. There was a lot of pressure to go west chasing the software dream & I briefly considered it. It didn’t work.
But Mumbai always had a job for me, come recession or boom. While it bore witness to the violence I faced (always from non Mumbaikers), it also carried my healing. Through a life threatening natural calamity in 2005, I found support & help in strangers.
And as I got older, my sense of self began to sit easier in my body. And also in my city. I found lessons in the moving tides that are de riguer for a coastal dweller. There were the ebbs & highs of living through terrorism & communal tension as also the glitz of a big city & Bollywood glamour.
I heard stories of hard-won opportunities by the hungry clawing their way to a place I’d always been. They made me aware of what I already had, who I always was.
Mumbai. I’ve come a long way in my life journey, without moving more than a few kilometres. My whole world rests on a narrow strip of seven islands. I call it home, it call it my city.
This is part of my series titled #BussKyaBambai exploring what makes a city uniquely itself & culminating in a Live conversation.