Oh, the places you’ll go..

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“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone”.

Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. – Ibn Battuta

Now that you have seen the sunrise view from my bathoom in Positano (captured via i-phone), I think you are jealous enough. We may begin.. 😛

My husband and I (let’s just call him my boyfriend, for I am still getting accustomed to calling him my husband, and more importantly, I refuse to grow up) just returned from a short yet wildly optimized trip to Italy and France. You can call it our Honeymoon, but I couldn’t possibly comment! (House of Cards BBC version anyone?) So this is partly my jet-lagged self and partly a nostalgic romantic suffering from vacation withdrawal pouring her heart out. So bear with me a little bit, as I take you back to the timeless spectacle, cultural medley and an epicure’s dream, that is Europe. (warning: turns out, I wont)

Let’s get our background aligned. Neither of us had ever been to Europe, in spite of at least a dozen lay-overs across it for the past half decade. Coming from a middle class Maharashtrian family, our family trips were limited to Mahabaleshwar for summer and Shimla was a once-in-a-childhood-time kind of event. Europe, thanks to Kesari Travels, was the dream that fueled career aspirations and Yash Raj films were the biggest source of Europe tourism. If you had a hard-working adult-life, saved enough for retirement and were successful in convincing your newly married kids to make you grand-babies, your part in a Marathi house was done. Then, you were ready for your “All of Europe Kesari Tour” and uncountable hours of watching Marathi serials.

After almost 15 years of “ I will earn enough to afford a Kesari trip at 30 and not at 60”, I realized how easily our goals change and you want to run as far away from a Kesari type crowd in front of the Colosseum in Rome munching on their Kande-Pohe and Chai while you devour your Neapolitan pizza and drool on your Gelato! No offense, I am sure many Indians appreciate familiar food in other countries, and to each their own.

My friends here in USA, who are born and raised here often tell me stories of how they visited Europe over a summer break, or spent a semester of college studying there. It seems like there is a culture here, of visiting Europe too, just like we Indians have. The substantial difference however lies in HOW they explore it. Folks here learn a foreign language and stay for a few months with locals in the European country-side or go a back-packing trip, staying in hostels (yes, like in the movie, Queen), working locally to earn enough to travel more and in all of this, explore the true culture of the land. To clarify, I am sure there are reverse examples- of Indians doing such extensive trips and Americans doing the classic-selfie-taking Kesari-kinda trip- and surely, India is going the right way.

But I guess my point here is two-fold. 1. I wish my family (and I am sure I speak for many of you) traveled more. More so, focused on traveling locally, nationally and internationally as a part of life. Economic barriers and priorities are understandable. But we can do a better job of ingraining travel and exploring the world as a hunger in our families, along with our usual aspirations of “Olympiads and Scholarships” and “IITs and entrance exams”. I am sure it not only helps in learning about new things in the world, but it makes you liberal, humble and more curious, of what lies beyond what you have seen so far. Traveling with family, making experiences together can help in growing as a happier unit and I am sure, prepares you way better than those days spent in classrooms.

Secondly, it is how you travel. I have seen myself bust my own premonitions and myths through visiting new places and meeting different people. Had we done a pre-organized trip, we would never have met a social entrepreneur and translator couple from Sweden, spending a good part of a night talking about European politics and local delicacies for the sweet-toothed in Roma. Nor would we have enjoyed a hearty lunch at a French bistro in Paris with a non-English speaking old couple forcing us to try (more like chug) all the exquisite wine they ordered at our adjacent table. That grandpa, all of 84 years, told us stories of his 40 years in Paris through the world war times, 44 years in Nice, in southern France where he fell in love with his wife (who he stated multiple times, made him a very happy and lucky man) and how he visited India pre-independence. All of this, without a sentence in English, where such an effortless dialog pursued through hand-gestures and a lot of good Mediterranean wine.

Don’t wait till you have enough bank balance, make a piggy bank to save all the times you eat at home on weekends vs. going out! Don’t accrue vacation time off work only for India trips- or spend most long weekends going to your friend’s bungalow in Lonavala for a daaru party. Make time for all the possibilities beyond your imagination, step out of your comfort zone, and force a trip to a new place. You will never regret it. Someone nailed it, when they said- “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

Clearly, I digress and dramatize. 🙂

I was going to take you through our little trip but I instead took you through my rant. Classic me eh? I will leave you with a couple of teasers and a promise to write about our actual trip next..

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Gondola, waiting for its ride at the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy.

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Trevi Fountain gleaming in all its glory in the heart of Rome, Italy.

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Doesn’t need an identifier. Icon of Europe. Paris, France.

 

The Antarpaat

Gaurav & Kirti Wedding (1532)

The hymms play in the background. The sweet scent of flowers fills the room. The prayers and mantra emerge loudly from within the sea of excited colorful people. The crowd tightens its grip around the stage, the antarpaat (veil) finds its place between us and the blessings shower from all directions in the way of tiny rice grains. There is a structure to this utterly chaotic moment- diyas are held, wishes are made, pranks are pulled, someone is poking (peeping?) against the antarpaat, memories have erupted in everyone’s mind and smiles are everywhere. Tears of joy, wonderment of how fast time flew, words of wisdom and the anticipation of a promise to be made. Hundreds have gathered to witness and participate in this memorable deed. And this is just on the outside. Inside, the story is slightly different…

The hustle and bustle of the days leading to this moment has lost its chatter in the deafening silence in my mind. This is it, the moment of anticipation and the beginning of a new relation. Scratch that, it is not the beginning; it is in fact the natural evolution of our ever changing relationship. In the 7 minutes of “mangalashtaka” (wedding prayers), to be honest, I didn’t think about the future. Quite an irony right? Standing on the brink of a new adventure, all I wanted to do was look back. And why wouldn’t I? Everyone standing behind me was there to wish me well. Each person there- my parents, my brother, my family, my best friends, my mentors, my strengths- they have all walked many a step with me in this journey of life- taught me to hope and believe, be strong when the odds are against you, to make mistakes and learn from them, be bold when you falter, dare to dream and push to achieve it- love and heart-break, trust and betrayal, wins and losses- these people have held my hand through this- and each step with them brought me to this moment here. I was elated, speechless and extremely grateful for all those special people who blessed us on our big day. I don’t need to say more, I think there is a part best left unsaid; instead it is felt and cherished. With a quick glance back at them, I knew I had them by my side to take this plunge.

The antarpaat dropped and there he was. Waiting for me. That boy I met serendipitously. Who opened his life, his family, his mind and his heart to accept me for who I am. That boy who has smiled through every challenge we have faced, dreamed of a future with me through his little eyes and sworn to eat food with me forever and always. From a friend to a boyfriend to a fiancé to a husband today. He has been my partner all along and this is only the beginning..

I didn’t know what I wanted from my partner- I still don’t know- but what I need, you have given me in plenty without even a need to ask for it. And for that, I marry thee..

Some songs stick with you for unexplained reasons. This one stayed through more than a decades of my life to present itself at an unparalleled moment- the day when he asked me to marry him. It played in the background while I said Yes and began to live the song..

Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp6zoc84NcU

True Companion

Baby I’ve been searching like everybody else
Can’t say nothing different about myself
Sometimes I’m an angel and sometimes I’m cruel
But when it comes to love I’m just another fool
Yes I’ve climbed a mountain
I’m gonna swim the sea
There ain’t no act of God, girl
Could keep you safe from me
My arms are reaching out,
out across this canyon
I’m asking you to be my true companion
True companion
So don’t you dare and try to walk away
I’ve got my heart set on our wedding day
I’ve got this vision of a girl in white
Made my descision that its you alright
When I take your hand, I watch my heart set sail
I’ll take my trembling fingers, and I’ll lift up your veil
Then I’ll take you home and with wild abandon
Make love to you just like a true companion
You are my true companion
I got a true companion

When the years have done irreparable harm
I can see us walking slowly arm in arm,
Just like that couple on the corner do
Cause girl I will always be in love with you
When I look in your eyes, I still see that spark
Until the shadows fall, until the room grows dark
Then when I leave this earth I’ll be with the angels standing
I’ll be out there waiting for my true companion
Just for my true companion
True companion

Mumbai Diaries

It is a vicious cycle, this one. Of going home once a year- making a 25 hour journey across the world to sweat like a pig for the first two days, complain of the honking and the smells for the next two days, stuff your faces with moms khaana and our favorites from the nostalgic restaurants and then before we know it, and just as we are getting used to the water-jet (non toilet paper) kinda life, it’s time to make the trip back. And that’s the hardest part, making you sometimes question whether this pain of long distance is worth it?! Teary goodbyes and a promise to visit again. And a mental note to have a longer stay next time. Time back home is never enough. Maybe that’s why it’s home, and you never get tired of being here.Travel. Rinse. Repeat. 

Well, on the bright side, goodbyes can wait for a bit- this time I have almost a month to be home- screw you adult work life! 😀

As the A380 soared over the late night lights of the city, as per tradition, tears of joys rolled down as I watched the vast expanse of Mumbai glowing underneath me. I was home. And mom’s fried bombil (Bombay duck) was waiting for me at 2.30am. I was definitely home!

So, here I am, just over a week away from my wedding and back home after the fourth consecutive day of 10 hour shopping sprees. With a 9 member shopping brigade and a flourishing bridal wear industry, I could have shot a sensational season of “Say yes to the dress” over the past few days. And I had 7-8 dresses to buy, because Indian weddings are extravagant to say the least. I must admit though, that I enjoyed it. Mostly the consistent flow of free chai/coffee at every store and the myriad of colors around me. Wedding times are very colorful times. Add to that, the cheer of the families- the laughs, the anecdotes, the teasing, the hustle, the chatter and the shameless quick kiss when no one is watching! 🙂 

Each trip to Mumbai starts with a thorough evaluation of the inflation. It starts with the Rickshaw minimum fare and ends with the price of a Vada Pav. After the inflation comes the evaluation of how much Mumbai has changed since I last visited. That purely depends on the new eateries that have cropped up and the global brands entering the high street Phoenix mall. For some reference, Zara had opened stores in Mumbai at least a year before starting in Seattle! During this trip, I found Michael Kors. Mental note to myself- one less reason to live in America :P. 

However, this time I noticed something else that surprised me more. Mumbai has more BMWs, Mercedes and Audis than the Bay Area! And when you see as many Mercedes cars on the cramped Mumbai roads as you see Priuses in California, you wonder if you are living in the wrong continent! Don’t get me wrong, Mumbai has always been a rich place or more so, a place which only the rich can afford ( unless you are part of the lucky middle class that has ancestral houses or the poor who don’t need a house to live). But the funny part is to watch an audacious rickshaw cut an Audi A8L and then see that rickshaw come to a screeching stop because the dog just decided to take a dump on the road! And yet, these cars that are built for Autobahn, race against time and the Mumbai roads at their top speeds of 20 mph! 

While many things clearly seem changed with each new trip, some things remain the same. Dawn at Juhu beach. Sunset at Nariman Point. Door side Churchgate fast (local train journey). I may not have traveled extensively but of the cities I have visited, nothing gets better than Mumbai for a night out. Roads will still be bustling at 2am and late night food joints will be just opening shops for the party goers. Be it night or day, Mumbai will continue racing against time. 

There is much more of this overwhelming homecoming trip to be shared. But it will have to wait. Mom has made prawns pulav and I don’t give a shit about Facebook when I have moms food. Go be jealous about Maa ka khaana 🙂

 Leaving you with a scene from “Behind the scenes with Groomzilla Gaurav”. Notice the large shopping party and the lack of smiles in this candid shot. They needed food and Gaurav to say YES to some dress! 😀 

A Tale of Many Homes

My Happy Place

My Happy Place

If you know me, you know my love for Mumbai. It doesn’t help that they know me for what they think is “Mumbai-style hustle” at work. So yes, there is love and passion and longing for my beautiful, unparalleled home, back home.

Home, back home- that probably makes zero sense to someone who has lived in one house or city or more essentially, one state of belongingness. But to people who have had the opportunity to travel, to uproot their lives from one place and start from scratch in an unknown land, to start over, to explore and most importantly choose a different path that what they were destined to live- homes are multiple.

Some do it out of necessity, some out of choice and some- because others are doing it too! For me, it was a little bit of everything.

I was born and raised in Mumbai, but till the age of 10- my world started and ended with Vile Parle East, with an occasional long distance trip to Juhu Beach. In junior college, the broader map of Mumbai opened up to me. It was only in my undergrad school that I was introduced and subsequently fell in love with the jewels of South Bombay. At 21, I knew I was born and raised in the best place in the world and life could not be better than life in Mumbai. And then, life happened.

I still believe the first piece of the above statement- Mumbai surely rocks- but the travel in the last four years has made me realize- life only gets better with the more you travel. There is a LOT of everything you cannot even imagine, in the world outside your home.

I moved from the fast-paced urban life of Mumbai to join Dartmouth in Hanover, NH for my Masters. For me it was less about moving from developing India to advanced USA, and more about moving from a city housing 12 Million people to a town that housed less than 11 thousand people. Where was I? In a place where there was ONE grocery store, one theatre, one main road and one high school. Additionally, this place was supposedly so safe, that folks left their houses unlocked sometimes. People were friendly on the road- many strangers actually smiled and greeted you on the road. The first week or so, I avoided making eye contact, tried to fake that I understood what folks meant in their thick American accent, and smiled more than talking to prevent my hesitant English from embarrassing me.

I never realized exactly when I got used to calling Hanover home- maybe it was somewhere between enjoying a hearty meal of home cooked Dosas with my American host family (I didn’t cook- they were into authentic Indian food long before they met me) and becoming a regular at Lou’s for Sunday brunch. With a huge student loan and without Mom’s chicken curry on Sundays, life at Dartmouth has been by far the hardest time of my life. Long hours of classes, part time jobs, cooking to survive and reading over hundred pages of case studies every day and trying to find an internship amidst all this- Hanover has seen me through my worst. And then it showed me its worst- Winter.

On the brighter side- I had freedom for the first time. To do, eat, drink what I want. 30 pounds later, I had eaten and drank too much. But Hanover was kind- it was big enough to find me solitude and space when I needed it, it was small enough to feel familiar and it was different enough I never needed to compare it with Mumbai. In its beautiful weather changes, ski slopes, academic energy and warm people, there was a new home. My school home.

To be continued..

The Alma Mater

The Alma Mater

My Udaan

To say the least- it’s been a while. A lot has changed since the last post, which was over three years ago. I am at least twenty pounds heavier (yes, I switched from kilograms to pounds too). I call a new place home now- it’s a city far away from the familiar streets of Mumbai- 7729 miles away, to be precise. I am engaged- which means I now bear the potential to screw up two lives instead of one! I have been working for the last two years which means I have successfully learnt to act like an adult. Or at least fake it well. I am debt-free; the ginormous student loan with a ridiculous interest rate is over- that was what I was doing for the most part of the last two years, while enjoying multiple cross country and international trips, steakhouse dinners (yeah, I eat the COW and I will not go to jail- because I am 7729 miles from the holy shity- I mean-city of Mumbai), living in the smack downtown of my beautiful west-coast city and meeting the boy who tricked me into agreeing to marry him. So yes, somethings have changed.

While change is constant, somethings are best unchanged. For a while I have been toying with the idea of blogging again. But I could barely relate to the previous post and I wondered if I could ever find a flow in my writing. Who was the lost discoverer? Where is she now and how can I find her? Don’t get me wrong- I remember the circumstances and emotions that raced me while writing all of the 50+ posts for the past 7 years. What I was searching for, was the thread that continues to bond me to the lost discoverer from 5 years ago. And one day- while crossing the road- at 8.37am on a Monday morning-rushing to work for a 9am meeting- it came to me in its simplest yet best form.

“Pairon ki bediyan khwabon ko baandhe nahi re, kabhi nahi re..

Mitti ki parton ko nanhe se ankur bhi cheere..Dheere dheere..

Iraade hare bhare, jinke seeno mein ghar kare

Woh dil ki sune kare, na darey, na darey..”

(Shackles around the feet cannot bind dreams,

Even sprouts rip through the layer of the soil slowly

Those who have blossoming determination in their chest,

They listen to their heart, they have no fear.)

“Subah ki kirno ko rokein jo salaakhein hai kahaan

Jo khayalon pe pehre daale wo aankhein hai kahaan

Par khulne ki deri hai parinde ud ke choomenge..

Aasman aasman aasmaan..”

(There are no bars that can stop the rays of the day

There are no eyes which can stand guard over our thoughts

The moment their wings open up, the birds shall kiss the sky…)

Udaan(2010)- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iCauE_5gMY

The radio had chosen to start my week with my favorite song from my early adulthood and I could feel the light rush of adrenaline flow through my veins, just as it would 5 years ago- when I had no clue what the next step was going to be. When obstacles galore often found me clinging to the hope that there will be a successful day- when finances will be better, when I will be standing on my feet and I dreamt of a time when I could tell her- “Mom, you can relax- I am going to take care of this.” That day came, and I was extremely proud. Almost cocky proud. But I deserved that moment and I knew it. But I know there are miles to go, and loads to achieve. At 25, life has just begun.

Coming back to the song. Somethings in life define you. It could be a short-lived childhood you had, it could be a competition you won. Or even better, a competition you lost. A failure. An unfair decision. An incomplete dream. An ambition. For me- I had most of those. But I didn’t let any of them engulf me. What I did allow to engulf me- were lines like those above. Or movies like The October Sky. They empower you, they make you believe in yourself. They make you have faith in the future. And that pushes you to be better.

I am no achiever. I am just another person who found help in the most unexpected places. I got lucky sometimes, I worked more than hard through the other times. I opened myself to support, which came in various forms. In the form of some amazing friends that I had at SP. In the form of teen-love or friendship or somewhere in the middle. In the form of an amazing roommate. In the form of a phenomenal manager who saw what I couldn’t see in myself yet. It may sound clichéd but when God closes one door, He opens the roof for you to fly out. And fly out, I did.

Take chances- believe in yourself- open your mind- be humble and learn- and always, always follow your heart. These things have brought me a long way and I hope they continue to take me to bigger, better places.

Oh I forgot about the ring on my finger. We can chat about it some other time. Today, the lost discoverer has just gotten back on the blogging path.

Leaving you with a glimpse of beauty of my city..

Elliot Bay Trail, Seattle. This is a 10 minute walk from my house- go be jealous. But it doesn’t beat Juhu beach’s dawn. J

Elliot Bay Trail, Seattle

My Path

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Where is the path that always had a little diversion to take once in a while..the small trail through the woods..the path that was tough to walk through..it had unexpected turns..some rude shocks..some slippery sections.. always on the edge..some pleasant breakthroughs suddenly..like the dark woods clear out once in a while to let the sunshine fall on the path..to light the entire trail..winding and confusing but always led me forward.. just before the pattern could be understood, it changed, the path turned and brought me back to the original highway everyone needs to take..only this time, I was a little more travelled, a little more learned, a little different from before..

New trails lie ahead. New roads..new destinations. But will the pleasant diversions still come by, once in a while? Will there be a chance beyond the obvious? Will there be reason enough to keep going ahead on a strange hard path, leaving the solace of the path I have known for long?

I walk anyways. There is no point stopping now. Looking back is only going to make it harder to go on.  Days turn into nights and nights break into hopeful dawns. The surroundings change. Some patches of the travel are so overcrowded, that I wish I had another way. Some parts are so lonely, I wish I had my fellow traveler walking by my side. I walk anyways.

I pick up a few things on the way. Soon the backpack is full and carrying it all is going to be too heavy. It slows me down. I can only take so much. I pause. I cannot decide. I try to overload anyways, coz that’s just me. I can’t carry what holds me back. I think for a moment. Or longer. And continue.

The destination is far far away. Or maybe just around the corner. Or maybe I went past it. I would never know. That is, after all the beauty of this journey.  You end up losing so much that you had discovered in discovering what you think you have lost.

The world is round they say, life comes a full circle they believe. This path will lead back to what I started from, however I hope the journey is as eventful and fulfilling as the pursuit of the eventuality.

Just for the heck of it. Or maybe more.

5 months. Or maybe more. Seems forever to me. Since I felt it was time to write. To get that urge to write even when an exam was less than 2 hours away. When you just wanna let it out and even fingers fail you, your thoughts run faster than your fingers.

Why? Had I stopped living? Had I lost my identity, my old ways? Well, yes and no. I know that old person is still in there. I want to stop and write when I am walking in the cold across town out here. I think want to write when I am running between classes and I don’t remember when was the last time I had eaten. I want to write when I am homeworking, TAing, cooking, cleaning, being an adult and all that shit.  But most, I want to write when I unknowingly transcend into the pleasant memory lanes. But that is not what I want to write today. It need not be said. It cannot be expressed. In the early hours of the day when I finally find the guilt of pending work pass the threshold of shamelessness, I can do little apart from crawling into bed, and falling asleep in moments to be woken up by my hated alarm.

Anyhoo, today I am going to write. It has been just too long. Where do I start? Though so much has transpired, there is little that can be penned. USA is strictly okay. I have learnt one thing. The world is as happy as you want it to be. Hard work will pay off, but not when you expect it to. Happy serendipities are rare and sudden deadly shocks are often. Cynicism is easy, it is hard to keep hope. Yes, even while writing this, I know I am contradicting my attitude. I hope I change back to my old hopelessly hopeful self soon.

Enough of this long melancholy rant. Lets see the few good sides to it.  This place may not have chaat corners, but ice-cream tubs and abundant free candy can make all the sorrow almost go away. There may be no local trains,

(abrupt-now is when I realize I have a lot of homework pending and if I want sleep tonight I should get back to it. This is for the 4th time in last few months that a moment like this has stopped me from writing. I want to write more and hopefully someday soon, I will. But for now, instead of just letting this draft lose the last bit of hope of seeing the light of the day, I will publish it never the less.)

Takeaway: I am alive. I am still me. I am still walking on the same path trying to discover myself. Had to leave behind a lot, had to pick up a little on the way. Still walking though.

I will try to crop up every once in a while. Tell you whats up with me. Watch out for me, I might be standing right behind you someday. In an unexpected, unknown land.

To hope that all is well at many ends I have left behind and to the revival of the blogging community which is on the verge of being lost in oblivion. Write! Find time to write even when it means sacrificing that one hour of sleep. I felt better after writing. Though I wrote shit, I felt expressed in a tiny way. That is all that matters.

 

Peace!

 

And a little bit of hope.

 

(Love from the colder part of the world)

Rising through Fall..

Dartmouth Diary: Yes, USA. Yes, on my own. Yes, job and own restrictions. Or the lack of them.

Over a month into being in this part of the world, and time seems to have flown right out of my shivering hands. The sun is rare and dear, the concept of sweat has been long forgotten.

Noise is history. Silence is eternal. Green is almost gone, fall is moving towards the cold.

Novelty is slowly wearing off. The change has seeped in.

People are few. Solitude is easy.

Schedules and appointments run this country. Google calendar is supreme. Sleep is rare. Food is a necessity, usually squeezed between to-do lists. Often skipped. Out of lack of time. Or effort. Or both.

A different life this is. Meeting new type of people. Following street rules. Wearing more layers of clothes. Hearing my name pronounced in the weirdest ways possible.

Making way through this new path. Discovering the bigger picture, the life outside the home-ground.

So much to be learnt. So much to be done. So much to change, so much to prove.

In the daily race against time, a moment is frozen. The squirrel nibbling on a seed while the leaves of Fall make their way into the breeze. This is a beautiful place. Colors as never seen before. Alas, there is no time to wait. The Google calendar has advanced to the next time slot. Clock says it is time to grow up.

The graduate life. The challenge is worth all the trouble. The experience is priceless.

Fascinating it is, to learn more about the lifestyle of natives here. More so, their line of thought. Their view on what is right and what is not. The disparity in points of view here and back home, make this trip all the more interesting.

A call and I am transported back home. Warmth gushing out of Skype windows. Nostalgia creeps in. But for now, cold will prevail.

*Remembers something about Mumbai, smiles. *

Hope to write often. So much to say, can’t think of where to start. So for now I will just stop!

From this side of the world, hope and happiness.

To all, a very Happy Diwali.

There she goes..

When all is said and done, have you done or said enough?

Have I?

I wonder.

Three bags stand before me. They are all I can take.

But how do I fit the door-side travel on a Churchgate Fast in them? Will there be space to pack the SP Quad? And how do I carry the long hours sitting at Marine Drive at twilight. The starry nights as the waves splash against the rocks and Mumbai speeds by. Or the stroll by Juhu Beach. The inexpensive bookstalls at Fountain.The Mutton Biryani at Lucky? Or even fried Bombay duck.

How do I take along, the scent of Mumbai.

At least maybe some way to pack those sleepovers and triple seat rides, those innocent school days of eating Vada Pav for Rs.2.5 in the canteen, the crazy Sathaye days of exploring the world beyond Parle, the Sp days of  friendship, IVs, trips, fights, PLs, Katres and Techmaxes, dreams, love and life.

Is there space to fit in the fat brother I will miss fighting with? The bed by the window which I won against him. The chocolates and ice-cream that we “equally divided” each time when brought home.

Can I take mom along?

In the middle of to do lists and things to be bought, suddenly these three bags seem hollow. And useless.

Everything that I wish to take along, I am leaving behind. The concept of paying more for extra luggage sounds like such an irony. *chuckles*

When all is said and done, have you done or said enough?

Have I?

I wonder. Again.

21 years of priceless memories. Moments, I fear I may find hard to remember over time, and those I dread will haunt me forever.

People who walked in and out of life. Those who walked with me and those who left me on paths alone. Things I learnt from them when they were not even teaching.

Some incomplete stories. Some which over-lived their life. Some abruptly cut short, some stretched beyond recognition. Some cherished, some regretted.

Maybe it’s not the end. But maybe it is.  Who can know?

When all is said and done, have you done or said enough?

Have I?

I wonder, not so much this time.

Well, it matters not much. Or in fact, nothing can be done anymore. What is done, is. What isn’t, isn’t.

This is the last post from the city they I swear by, from the laptop that has been patiently digesting all that I type into it, and the home that has made me what I am today.

I know I will cry, I have always been an easy crier. People often judge me on that. It again doesn’t matter. I know there have been things worth missing. It doesn’t make me weak, it only means I am aware of what I am into. How lucky I must be to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

Anyway, it’s been an ultimate joyride. There are no regrets. Only memories. And dreams.

Mumbai, you are my first love. You are a rockstar. No New York or London will ever take your place.  I will almost miss the potholes too. 😛

Mom, I will try to make chicken gravy but it will never be like yours.

Omkar, don’t be too happy, you still don’t have sole ownership of our room.

My few blog readers ( I am being really hopeful here), I am starting a new journey. I am sure there will be enough to blog about that side of the world too.

USA, make space for one more Indian.

And now, time for the big leap.

See you on the other side.

That’s All Folks.

Be good, be hopeful.

Out of words, for once.

The song has ended, but the melody lingers on..

Saying nothing will be wrong, saying everything will still be inadequate.

I am glad it happened though. And forever, indebted.

For once, silence overpowers expression. Coz not everything can be said.

Even blogging doesn’t serve the cause today.

To a new start.

Yours and mine.

And the world is round. Till we meet again.

Hope always.