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Return to Bombay!

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

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A short trip (what was truly a “flying visit”) back to Bombay/Mumbai a couple of weeks ago and it was like I had never left…

As soon as the plane lands, the familiar smell of Bombay rushes past all barriers towards you.

For whatever reason, there is a heavy layer of smoky haze across the city. And it stays that way for my entire stay (a whole two days!).

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The noise, the crowds, the traffic, the dirt, the chaos…I had lived without all of this for six whole weeks!

These days no one stays unconnected for long, no matter where in the world they live. But it was certainly wonderful to re-connect with my friends there, in person.  

But what did I really feel about going back?

Two thoughts were uppermost in my mind –

First, I am so very glad to be back in the US, to be home and living where I have spent most of my life. It took no time at all to get acclimated once I returned. In fact, I have a new appreciation for all that the country offers.

Second, I wouldn’t change my (almost) two years of living in Mumbai for anything! It was an incredible experience in “Incredible India” – yes, the good, bad and ugly, all together. The yin and the yang.  

Some of you may not agree but I sincerely consider myself a lucky one – just thrilled to have had that adventure! It was eye-opening on so many fronts and will forever be an experience that is impossible to replicate. 

Now, I am equally thrilled to start my new/old adventure – one where my connection to India is still strong, even if I’m not actually living there.

It’s actually kind of eerie the way things just fell into place…


“Thank you for coming into my life and giving me joy, thank you for loving me and receiving my love in return. Thank you for the memories I will cherish forever. But most of all, thank you for showing me that there will come a time when I can eventually let you go. ”

― Nicholas Sparks, Message in a Bottle

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Photo credit:

Smoky Mumbai – By Satish Krishnamurthy [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Taking a Breather from Maximum City

What’s happening to Mumbai?

Leave it to Pritish Nandy to elaborate in his inimitable way. His post on this topic, published in the Times of India, is very well written and says it all. It’s called (in it’s tongue-in-cheeky tone) Why I love Mumbai.  

Just in case there’s not enough of an incentive for you to read it, I have included an excerpt here:

“….

Muslims have got Satanic Verses banned. Hindus have banned Husain. So no gallery dares to show the art of the city’s greatest son. You can’t show sculptures with genitals, not even Michaelangelo’s David, though you can see any number of genitals on the streets where people openly pee. You can’t watch The Dirty Picture on 9 pm TV. That’s outlawed though it won Vidya the National Award and every kid has loved it. You are lucky Donald Duck ain’t banned because comics and cartoons in text books are banned. My Savita Bhabhi is too. So are, sneakily, many websites.

…..”

Read more here.  Now you will, right?  [And how do you like all that genuine purple prose? 🙂 ]

This write-up by him was followed by another article of the same ilk (by Nandy again) a day later – Don’t you dare sing, dance, eat out, watch films. Welcome to Mumbai in 2012. Obviously he has strong feelings about the new era of moral policing that is emerging here. As he should.

I mean, this kind of stuff happens only in cities like…Bangalore, right? My intuition tells me that the people of Maximum City will not stand for it and sooner or later, it will be nipped in the bud.

Combine this with the despairing populace of India who are wondering how and why India Shining got so tarnished, so quickly. 

With a government that is called paralyzed yet is able to introduce funky finance “reforms” (retroactive taxes, anyone?) while taking the country back to the low days of the early 1990s, with inflation that doesn’t seem to have a cap in sight, with foreign investors intent on fleeing, and the light at the end of the economy’s tunnel nowhere in sight…why, America looks downright luminous!  🙂

All of this combined with the city’s inherent humidity that gathers even more steam (literally!) in anticipation of the grand entry of Monsoon-2012 and I decided – what a wonderful time to break away, even if it’s just for a couple of weeks!

To break away and escape from madness by heading home – to my modest-sized, quiet, pristine, lovely city in the southern United States. It’s where a bright and sunny Summer, as well as friends and family await me with open arms (I hope!).  And it’s where I certainly won’t get busted by the moral police if I decide to go out for a late night drink. (Chill already, Mumbai!). Far from it.

What a welcome change it will be to go from the mega-city that never sleeps (or used to not) to one that is quiet and peaceful, if somewhat sleepy at times. The yin and the yang. 🙂

So, home sweet home, here I come!

 

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P.S.  As I was reviewing the post, I noticed that I have three of these 🙂 (this makes 4) embedded in my writing. That’s unusual for me…must be something about my mood as I head home, eh?  🙂 (and that’s 5)

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P.S. #2.  As I make my way out of Mumbai, it appears….ah yes, I hear it.   The monsoon of  Mumbai has arrived.

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Photo Credits:

Mumbai Skyline at Night: By Cididity Hat (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Smalltown USA : By User:Anivron derivative work: Spyder_Monkey  [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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