Mumbai has taught me a lot. From being independent, to learning about people from all parts of the country, to house hunting and changing homes where I have had the whackiest to the best of the experiences, to meeting random strangers with whom I have had life changing conversations, to meeting stark crazy people who have taught me how to be alert and stay aware, it's been quite a ride!
There's nothing that this city hasn't made me experience. There are times when I am exhilarated at just being here on my own and there are times when I have been totally down in dumps, wanting to pack my bags and leave.
Mumbai is the city of dreams they say and it sure is..but you have to have your fair share of struggle to be something here.
From totally fun night outings at Juhu beach and Marine Drive, to traveling long hours in local trains for work and being totally zapped at the end of the day, I have seen it all. The city has made me experience the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. All the extremes, all the shades, this city has it all.
I have been pushed and pulled in the local trains and I have been helped by totally random strangers. I have been appalled by the poverty and the filth in the city and been in awe of the wealth of the rich people here. From actors, to businessmen, to corporate employees to others, there have been so many people I have met and just been fascinated by them.
I love my home city Pune and always will. Nothing can change that. But, Mumbai is one city which has transformed me completely. There's something about the city that draws you, pulls you in and makes you love it. It's almost like a magnet, attracting lakhs of people from all over the country to come here and try their luck.
There's something about this city, no matter how crowded it is, you can always find peace and solace in it. No matter how hard it is to struggle here, one can always find hope and help somewhere and somehow.
I have always been an observer and as a writer, I love to explore the subtle and not-so-subtle things about any place. I love observing people and Mumbai has been a learning experience for me in that sense. Mumbai in all it's glory, is a city of stark contrasts.
I am no longer the same person who came to the city.
I have always had certain fears and apprehensions. Mumbai helped me overcome them. I would have never gone and had a meal all by myself in a restaurant or mall 2 years back, would have never gone shopping all on my own but I have done it in Mumbai. I have learnt to manage my finances better, learnt the value of small things and learnt to stand up for myself when required. I have learnt the value of time and learnt how to multitask and manage things in a better way. The best thing about the city is that everyone is going through struggles of their own, so no one will judge you immediately.
It's been a journey in the city, which has helped me to evolve and become a better version of my self. I continue to understand new things about myself and the world here. Mumbai has given me it's fair share of blows but never have I felt as if I have lost hope. Mumbai is overwhelming and sometimes too much to handle. But it's certainly worth the struggle. It has made me stronger and more resilient. Mumbai is the city which makes me feel more like "me" and makes me feel "alive" It has made me move out of my "comfort zone" and has helped me to broaden my perspective about life. Mumbai continues to make me grow as a person.
Mumbai may not be my city, but it definitely is my kind of city and it has a special place in my heart.