The one that dreams are made of
The one that makes dreams come true
But for me it’s just meant one thing: home. The real
|Back 'home' that's the view I had access to|
I count myself to be fortunate enough to have been
born and bred in a metropolis like Mumbai; a little too fortunate if I may say
so. School, college, first job and then another -- my love story with the city
was well on track. Would I ever consider moving away?
This, of course, would be modified my friends and
acquaintances as “Why would you ever consider moving away?”
To give into my curious side and know what it’s like
to live outside my comfort zone: To be very honest, Mumbai didn’t leave me
aspiring for much. Everything I needed was mostly available at my disposal.
Yes, it’s a concrete jungle.
Yes, it’s been plundered so much that one no longer
knows what’s really left – but it still get plundered.
Yes, it’s an infrastructural nightmare and cannot
compare to any international megapolis. Shanghai can be all the Shanghai it
wants to be.
In spite of all the abuse it puts up with, Mumbai is
What would it be like to be in a place that isn’t that?
I had to find out. I had to know. That’s how the move outside my comfort zone
To say I gave into wanderlust is only part of the
story. I had a long outstanding challenge I’d posed to myself: to move out. I
was rather confident that I’d be able to survive (if not thrive – not right
away at least) once the move happened. And survive I did because I knew how to
adapt. Here was my opportunity to put it to use. Once the novelty of a new
place wore off, it was effortless melding into places. I didn’t need a comfort
zone - not as much as I thought I did!
|Juhu beach and sunset - the panacea for a long day at work (as I used to know it)|
To realise what I’d been taking for granted: To be on
the move is to be disoriented. And being disoriented is a different kind of
high -- That’s the best way I could describe what it’s been like solo navigating
my way through the six states I’ve been to over the past five months.
Some paths have been Google Mappable. And many
Some paths have had data connectivity going strong.
And here as well, many haven’t.
And yet through all the disorientation, I’ve had my
inner compass pointing me towards the right direction.
Sure, I haven’t had as many moments as I would have liked
where I could simply let my guard down. And I didn’t realise the full magnitude
of it until 10 days ago when I dropped in ‘home’ for the first time since being
away! That night when I arrived in Mumbai and stepped into a cab outside the
airport, I realised I wasn’t consulting Google Maps.
There wasn’t any need for me to.
This was home. This was where I knew things at the
back of my hand.
This was where I could let my guard down.
Silly how I hadn’t realised what I’d been taking for
|The alleys and lanes of Mumbai. Of cobbled footpaths|
To see myself from the rear view mirror in the
people I'd left behind: Stepping outside my comfort zone had many more
ramifications than merely leaving the city. Because with the city came its
people as well as my people - my inner circle. This, though, wasn’t an acid
test for my relationships with and within the city. This was about being able
to step aside from the Self and the people around me. And in turn it was about having
the heart to recognise the Self through that rear view mirror five months on…
It’s like Terry Pratchett said: “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 colours. And the people there see
you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never
And what did I see? A graceful transformation – of
the Self and the people left behind (or at least of most of them). I saw it as
an attestation to the fact that we can go miles away for months but when we
return and stand face to face from each other, no matter how our individual
journeys have panned out we pick up the thread like it had never been let gone
off at all. That you can still resonate, still talk non-stop and also not talk
at all because sometimes even that’s perfectly alright. This indeed is a very
special thing to return to - if even for just four days before the road beckons
P.S.: None of this was without the repeated pangs of
missing a rather integral part of me. For a while I wasn’t able to put a finger
on it. I attributed it to being constantly on the move from one state to
another – and though I was still within my own country (which technically is
still ‘home’) something wasn’t the same. Until I acknowledged to myself that I
did miss Mumbai.
P.P.S.: It is bittersweet – the going away and
returning. Something’s aren’t quite as you’d hoped to find them. But in the end
it’s about what you choose to focus on. That’s what this post is about.
So tell me, what was your experience returning back home since the first time you stepped out?
P.P.S.: For opportunities to work with me, click here
Labels: home, India, Mumbai, solo travel, travel