I came, I saw, I fell in love.
There’s very little that’s happened in my life in the last ten years that makes me go, “Oh, Wow, I can’t believe I did that.” The past week has been different, I’ve achieved a personal goal that I long believe was lost and tainted in the pain of my past. Mumbai has restored my spirit, uplifted my senses and gave a certain meaning to my disheveled life. Although parting ways has been tough, inspiration has found me and I truly hope it stays until we meet again Mumbai.
I landed in the city on my 23rd birthday. I, like many, travelled to find something new, a version of me that even I’m unaware of, and I found it there, in a city that never sleeps and a city that never stops giving. When I came I was a full on ‘diva’, as I left, I believe, that the diva slightly transformed and also is deeply grateful. Love, life and adventure has seeped into my being, asking for more moments that touch the question “Who am I? Where am I going? Do I belong here?”
The moment I came, I was engulfed with a slight pride and also a sense of sadness. This is the city that has bloomed in the past ten years as it is also the city that is divided between rich and poor, sustains crime against women and sometimes holds stricter views on life. Irrespectively and undeniably, I’ve never felt safer and more independent in my life. This might be a result of unspoken emotions and restrained life that I live back home (home being Dubai, ironically), however, Mumbai has successfully opened me and finally revealed a possibility of being a new self.
This ‘self-help’ moment sounds very fancy and almost unlikely, but for now, this is how I feel and I’d like to preserve that! You may wonder; what exactly is this Dubai city girl talking about, whilst writing about a place of broken constructions, poor households and barely walk-able streets? I’ll tell you.
The first drive I had towards my aunt’s home, struck a chord with me. The place, the people hadn’t changed the slightest. Walking in a park that I played, as a child was heartbreakingly beautiful and also, a treasured memory. It made me realize, how I have longed for being grounded all my life, yet, completely missed the part where I must make efforts to connect to my roots. This time around, I right my wrongs and made an effort and yes, it was worth it!
The next couple of days were reminiscent of my childhood as I visited my home away from town and met with some family who were a huge part of my past. You know, we grow up, we move on and that’s all part of life, but if you ever feel a hole in your heart and wonder what’s wrong, the answer lies within yourself. If you don’t make an effort, what do you expect to gain? If you can’t admire, look back and hold on to your sweet, sweet past, how much sweeter will your future be? This journey has been a revelation in who I used to be and I’d much rather be in touch with that person and acknowledge her existence within my being.
As I walk away from the city, for the first time in years, I had a heavy heart. It’s not just that I’ve escaped my personal reality, I’ve escaped myself and that has been revolutionary. I’m going to miss the little things, the green beside the road, the wind in the hair moment every time I sat in a rickshaw, the warmth of recognizing a place from my childhood and mostly, being under the influence of unconditional love and care. Mumbai, you’ve broken my heart (in a good way). *Sigh* Until next time…
Here are a few images that describe some of the ‘revelatio(nary)’ moments