Yeh hai Mumbai, meri jaan.

I found Bombay and opium,the drug and the city,the city of opium and the drug Bombay.

-Jeet Thayil

 This is probably the most overused quote but also the most apt. Mumbai – A city overflowing with people, toxic gases and food; crushes hundreds of dreams everyday but also gives rise to thousand new ones. Here, people are busy daydreaming under the sun and making those dreams come true by night. A place where people are constantly in search of something. There is a certain pace set for everyone and if you can’t live up to it, you are out. As it is rightly called the city of dreams, people from all over India are settled in this tiny place trying their luck. With a population so diverse, the ONE major thing Mumbai taught me was that everyone is annoying, no matter which city or family you belong to (just kidding). However, despite of coming from different origins, we have made a whole new mumbaiyya culture for everyone to feel home. From slangs to revamping the language and giving rise to dialects we have formed our own tongue and cuisine. But have I always seen Mumbai in this light? Not really.

Growing up, I’ve always complained about the people, the overcrowded and super late trains, the constant heat, the dull rainy days when you could not get out of the house, not because its raining but because the gazillion craters on the road which would result in a broken neck. I always dreamt of moving away after college and leave this city behind.

But when the time came, I didn’t want to. After spending seveteen years in Mumbai, the one year I spent away; everything changed. Living in a new, strange city; made me feel scared but also free. I liked it, the freedom. I embraced the change.

 . . .

College started. While travelling comfortably in a rickshaw, I would think back to the time when junior college had just started and I was getting accustomed to the train-travelling. Life never got monotonous if you’re a daily traveller of the locals. Every second day you would meet someone from your school going to their respective destinations and talk about the old days or you could just evaesdrop on the gossiping aunties sitting next to you. 

The changing weather, the food, the people, even the buildings – I started comparing everything to Mumbai. At first I thought it’s obvious to miss the town you were born and raised in but what I didn’t expect was the bond that I had formed with it. I maybe physically away from Mumbai but a part of it was embossed in my heart. As it is rightly said, change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end. It truly was amazing because it was due to this change that Mumbai became Bombay for me. Not just a city, but an emotion. A scrapbook of my past. A place I proudly call home.

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