There we stood between the narrow alleys of a dingy city. Bombay. Mumbai. Maximum City. The place had many names. But every tongue that uttered it had a dream. My dream, was to make a home here.
I was a writer, a struggling one. I landed a job in an advertising agency that paid me half of the rent that my landlord demanded. I was screwed. I knew it. But I was writing my story, one page at a time. I travelled by the Mumbai local, pushed around by fragrant arm pits and ate home-cooked food which mainly consisted of burnt rotis and wannabe mom-styled vegetables. So many times I got back home at unearthly hours, putting in 16 hours of work, tired to the bone and I thought—I don’t have clean underwear to wear to work tomorrow. I couldn’t go commando, so at 2am, I decided to do my laundry. And there, just then, the bubble burst, the one where I had imagined myself coming back from work and stepping into a bubble bath to concoct ideas for my bestseller. This city, it was ruthless. And its people were unwelcoming. I had to go back home. I needed a break from this shit.
I took a shower in my bathroom of 20 sq ft to get the sticky humidity off my body. The sudden homesickness was getting to me. The shower made me feel slightly better but I definitely needed to step out of this matchbox of an apartment. As soon as I did, a gentle breeze welcomed me, as if to apologise for the atrocities that had met with me over the past few days. I was standing outside a cute little kiosk that read 6th Street Yogurt. Maybe this was just what I needed, at this point. I ordered their Signature Sundae, the Kiwi Berry one and started walking down the road with the cold treat in hand. Crunching on the crispy toppings and gummy bears, I didn’t realise when I reached the iconic Queen’s Necklace at Marine Drive. It looked spectacular with the city lights shining down like golden droplets all around it. A part of me felt guilty for hating on this city already. The truth is, I am infatuated by it. And I just can’t let go.