Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Bombay Blues

This post has been bubbling up in me for a couple weeks now. Finally decided to put it down.

I have been doing some careful thinking about why, despite so many efforts to make myself happy, I still end up unhappy, dissatisfied, confused and moody and even worse, end up blaming Bombay for it all.

The most important thing of course, is that I had one of the best years of my life when I was in England and then I had to come back to this life and now, it's as if that year just disappeared. Poof! Like it never existed. I am back here, still struggling to establish some semblance of independence in my life and still unable to move out coz of financial issues. This is the biggest complaint I have about Bombay. It's too fucking expensive trying to live here. I most definitely can't afford to move out but I can't even socialise often enough - can't go out for movies, dinners, to the theatre etc as much as I'd like to coz it's too expensive. And being the sort of person I am (was?) this is vital for me. I still do go out every now and then but it leaves me feeling extremely guilty.

Secondly, I can't seem to decide what I want in my life. I was so sure, so sure that I want to teach before I left India. But then, things changed. Publishing and writing fever gripped me. However, when I came back, things just kept happening to me. I panicked about some things, made some wrong decisions and somehow landed up a teacher today. Now, I love it, I do. But I find myself feeling inadequate and dissatisfied at the end of my work day. I have made a difference but it somehow is not enough. So, it seems like I'm this grouchy, moody person who lashes out at people at her whims and fancies. And of course, the most important reason why I can't stop this teaching thing and venture into publishing/ journalism is coz this is giving me good money at the moment, which is important for the loan-repayment. So, I keep chickening out of stopping it.

But, the most important reason why I feel dissatisfied and angry with Bombay is because I had epitomized it. It was THE Bombay, MY Bombay, the city that made everyone's dreams come true, the glamour city, the city for everyone. And when I came back, it's as if that city existed only in my head. The reality was something else altoghther. Ugly. In fact, Mumbai has probably not changed much. But I have. And I can't stand some things about it. Most of all, the pace of life here, which eventually leads to other reasons too.

I hate the Mumbai locals. I hate the way people zoom past you and give you dirty looks when you are too slow for them. They don't have time for anything/ anyone. 9:27 Dadar local, 10:03 Andheri local, 8:15 AC bus. If you miss one, there is a domino effect where you miss the connecting train, the bus and you are subsequently late for whatever. I recognize that I was the same before I left. I had a lot of extra-curricular activities that I was involved with in college, plus I used to travel 1.5 hours each way to reach college, 6 days a week, was not bad with academics either and also somehow managed to fulfill my social obligations. But Leeds had such a different pace of life that even though I have readjusted myself to life in Bombay, the pace tires me out immensely. The heat, the noise, the pollution and the crowd, everything irritates me. What I hate the most is that people don't understand this. They give you the regular "You have changed and become a firangi. You lived in Bombay for 20 years and in Leeds for one year and you still can't get used to this life again?" No, damn it, I can't! Stop gloating about it, stop showing off how many superman/woman-ly qualities you have and how you can manage everything. And most of all, stop looking at me as if I am the world's most pathetic weakling for not being able to cope up with this pace of life. Really, do you know that I judge you for not living your life, just the way you are judging me right now for not living life at this ridiculously crazy pace?

Plus, of course, there is the situation at home. I am "independent" so long as I make the "right decisions". What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Even going out with friends and returning at 11 has to be justified.  There are constant arguments to establish the smallest of the things. And of course, each argument has the quintessential "You've become too don't care anymore...blah di blah fuck blah shit blah." Somebody really needs to tell Indians to tone down on the Bollywood drama blackmail thing that they do. I might be stupid, young and incapable of making my own decisions. But I've got too used to it. I will do everything that crosses my mind and is physically possible for me coz if I don't, it'll keep going around in my mind until it kills me of a headache. I don't want to regret not doing anything in my life. Also, I can't stand my parents making those faces at me. I can't stand anyone and anything from my old life.

Everytime I think of what will make me happy, I have to remind myself that being in England is not the correct answer. The situation there is so bad, I'd be jobless. So, yes, coming back was the right decision. I just wish it could make me happier. 


  1. Ahhh... so this is the one...
    Different people, different stories, but we all blame the city for our problems...

  2. Yea, unfortunately that's what I did. No more though. This city is what it is and I have to make the best of it. :)