A few days ago, I braved the cold, early morning drizzle and freezing winds of Bangalore and made the 40-minute commute to the airport. Against my better half’s better judgment, I boarded a flight to Mumbai, and two hours later, at 7 in the morning, I sat on the pavement of India’s busiest city, drenched in my own sweat and stinking of fear and indecision. I took a decision that could potentially affect the lives of everyone I knew, and I did it with half an optimistic mind. At times like these, I usually look back on all the bad decisions I’ve made in my life and weigh them against the one I just made, and whichever is the lesser of the evils, I defend. As I sat on the Mumbai sidewalk, waiting for a friend to pick me up, I questioned my reasons for being there.
Was it a career move? Most probably, yes. Also, this is the only rational explanation for which, I won’t hate myself. Was it a move based on a rapidly depleting sex life? Not really. I’ve been quite active and I didn’t need to come to Mumbai to get laid. Was it something that I was running away from? Probably not, because I’m just ninety minutes away, and not too far for my fears to hunt me down here. Was it the search for independence? Could be. To an extent, and definitely a few months later, I would be independent. Was it the incessant need to prove my worth to myself? A definite no. Was it a move that was rooted in long-term self-loathing due to twists of fate that prevented me from staying in a job for more than six months at a time? Might be, to a very small extent. But then again, all my so-called career moves in the past have made perfect sense to me.
Forty-five minutes later, I was sitting in my friend’s living room, talking to him about this and that, and I still did not have an answer. I went through quite a few misadventures in Mumbai, starting from a thirty-minute wait for an auto-rickshaw in the middle of the night to getting lost in roads that all looked alike. The fact that my body is not accustomed to the humidity of the island made matters worse, and I must have lost close to a kilo in body weight through sweat.
I am still searching for an answer. Meanwhile, the city that has the reputation of sapping people’s energies and leaving them soulless zombies getting pushed around from one corner to another on local trains, has been quite good to me. I like it.