September, 2014 – September, 2015
A year since I moved out of my home – my comfort zone, and moved to Mumbai to start working. Long time ago, I’d sworn that I’d never come to Mumbai – I had a weird distaste for this city. But fate had other plans, I guess. And here I am, sitting alone on a Monday night and typing away to glory. My mind feels like Facebook – going all to “this day, that year” and reflecting upon it. I would have used the word ‘reminiscence’ but then I don’t want to sound like a show off. Well, last one year has been a hell of a journey and I don’t even know from where to begin.
After I got through my face-to-face interview with Crowdfire, I started packing for Mumbai. After some tearful (not from my end, obviously) bye’s and promises to stay in touch, I reached Mumbai with my parents on 27th of August. We stayed over at my relatives’ – a lovely bunch of people. Mumbai is known to be a city where people don’t give a damn about others. This hasn’t been more wrong! The people – yes, always in a hurry – are helpful. After a painful series of house-hunting, we finalised a place and I moved there from the 1st of September. That also happened to be my first day at work. I was petrified and excited at the same time. After a warm welcome ceremony and a kickass day, my parents came to pick me up and I left with them to shift to my new place.
Then came the most difficult task – bidding goodbye to mum and dad. My dad was sobbing and I was getting irritated. No, I’m not an indifferent person. But I’ve always had this problem with expressing my emotions, especially sadness. I vividly remember that I was so overwhelmed from within – maybe until then I had not realised how emotionally dependent I was on my folks. I could not imagine surviving without them in this strange city. I suddenly felt like a little child lost in the fair but was too egoistic to express it – even in front of the people who have raised me. In my defence, I was just being practical. One person had to be strong and take charge of the situation – and that person was me, it’s always me. Gradually, I got used to it, and now, I love it.
I’ve learnt: You gotta leave something behind in order to reach your destination.
During my first weekend here, I had gone to Marine Drive with my friends and immediately fell in love with it. That’s when I told myself, “This city is for you.” It’s true. Mumbai – as arrogant as it appears – has its warm embrace extended to anyone who manages to see through its deceptive appearance. There’s a weird energy in this city – a positive energy, and it never ceases to attract me. Damn!
While I was loving my work-life and workplace, there were some challenges lying ahead of me. Three of us had joined Crowdfire on the same day, and I – undoubtedly – was the shiest one. I’ve always had a hard time making friends. I used to wonder if I would fit in with the rest. My colleagues were smart, talented and amazing and it made me feel all the more out of place. I’ve always had self-esteem issues. And then there’s my “over-politeness” that causes a lot of trouble. I have this habit of saying “Thank you” and “Sorry” quite a lot. No, I’m not embarrassed about it but I do admit that a lot of people find it irritating. It’s just that I’m really afraid of hurting others. When you get hurt a lot in life, you are left with two choices – to hurt others, or do anything to not hurt them. I chose the latter and take pride in that. (Very) Slowly, I warmed up to people, and finally made some friends here.
I’ve learnt: Surround yourself with the people who are smarter than you. Unless your ignorance hurts your ego, you will never be inspired to learn.
There was a time when I could not have imagined living alone, and now I’ve gotten so used to it. I remember Nischal – my boss – saying, “That’s the thing about living on your own – you hate it at first, and then get addicted to it.” Now when I think of it, I realise that I actually needed this. I needed to get out of my cocoon and experience this – experience life, and boy, loving it I am! I’ve done random outings, late night trips, and crazy shit I’d have never dreamt of doing back in Kolkata. Moreover, an introvert like me got a tattoo done. I made plenty of mistakes and have learnt from them.
I’ve learnt: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
Yeah, it’s been a bumpy road. There had come a phase when I had become very negative towards everything – my job, and life in general. It was one of the ‘downs’ except that the graph refused to go up. One of the many problems with me is that I find it difficult to share my problems with someone. It has a lot of reasons behind it – trust issues, fear of being judged and burdening others with my woes. It was a rather bad time. I had made some really good friends here, thanks to whom I could get out of it.
I’ve learnt: If you don’t like something, change it. Waiting for a miracle won’t get you anywhere.
Looking back, I sometimes feel that I have changed a lot. Yeah, I look older, obviously. I’ve learnt so much and am still learning. Others’ energy does rub off on you and I feel glad that I happen to be working with a bunch of awesome people. Their influence has changed my perspective and personality in more ways I could have imagined. Suddenly, my topics of interest, my habits, my way of thinking, and dressing have changed so much that it amazes me. It also breaks my heart to think about how many people I’ve lost in the past year. It’s reduced to rare, awkward phone conversations and formal texts – because things aren’t the same anymore. Or maybe, we aren’t the same anymore. As for some toxic people, I’m glad that they’re the ones who got away. It does suck because I take a lot of time to gel with people. Luckily, I have a strong coping mechanism (or detachedness) that keeps me going.
I’ve learnt: Sometimes, when we grow, we grow apart. And there’s nothing that we can do about it.
It’s brilliant – this whole feeling of independence. The freedom to do anything at your whim and fancy. You take your own decisions and feel like a responsible champ. It (independence) tastes heavenly. Though there have been days when I’ve hated it. There are times when I miss my mom’s scolding me for not waking up on time. I miss chatting with my (very few) close people in person about anything under the sun. Yeah, it does get a bit lonely here. Often, I crawl into my bed and cry myself to sleep at night because I don’t have anyone to call and talk to. But thinking of it rationally, it’s a package deal. I was the one who chose to lead an independent life and I’m willing to pay its price.
I’ve learnt: Every choice brings its own consequence. We need to decide whether we are equipped to handle it or not.
Regardless of the highs and lows – life’s good. I’ve changed a lot but still feel the same in many ways. I’m grateful that I got this opportunity and will make the most out of it – my life in Mumbai. I’ll end my post with the lines from my current favourite song, “It’s time” by Imagine Dragons:
I don’t ever wanna leave this town
‘Cause after all
This city never sleeps at night
It’s time to begin, isn’t it?
I get a little bit bigger but then I’ll admit
I’m just the same as I was
Now don’t you understand
That I’m never changing who I am.