I have lived in Bombay on and off my whole life. So I consider myself from a Bombayite. With my dad serving in defense forces, we get to travel the whole length and breadth of the country. I have lived in London for a year, Iran for three, Delhi from nine, Kochi & Goa for a year and Bombay for the rest.
Being in the forces one of the many perks we get is a free ticket to travel home called “Leave Travel Concession” where the government will pay for your ticket to your hometown. So if we were transferred to Bombay, our hometown would be Delhi and vice versa. This was why I travelled back and forth when I felt homesick.
During my 12th boards my family lived in Delhi, when I moved to Bombay for my higher education. My mom’s family lives there which include her two sisters and my late grandfather. We lived in the posh South Mumbai, but only I knew the reality. It was because of my dad being in the forces that we got the privilege to live there, otherwise we would have been in suburbs as well.
Growing up in Bombay with family and friends around me, I was smothered with love which protected me from the harsh reality.
So the first time I moved to Bombay by myself was in college. The only person that made me feel at home, Lisa was my second roommate in the horrible Girls Hostel in Colaba, (apart from my real family). Now looking back, that still tops the list of ‘shittiest of places I have been despite seeing worse.
The hostel experience couldn’t have been worse. I was surrounded by bedbugs, water shortages and electricity cuts. At such formidable times, I had a smile on my face and managed to laugh occasionally. “How come,” you may ask? And all I have to say is “it’s the people you surround yourself with in life is what makes most of the difference.”
Our friendship began over devouring food and our sole motivation to leave the room, literally I mean, we would travel 40-45 minutes just to eat pancakes in Bandra, nothing stopped us despite the Bombay monsoons. What I know for sure, is what we have is a friendship that will last a lifetime.