It’s a city that leaves me feeling trapped for space and air; it sometimes brings out the worst in me. It turns me lonelier by the day. I meet robots on my way to work. Programmed to make it to work on time, to wade through ankle-deep puddles and smile after being packed like sardines in a tin for over an hour every morning.
I grew up dreaming of spending my whole life in Bombay. In my teens, I remember coaxing my parents, “Promise me you won’t send me away from this city and that you’ll find me a boy who loves it as much as I do.”
Today, I’d, with great alacrity, move to a small town for the joys of a terrace and/or a balcony. Most things would be within walking distance and the parents wouldn’t have stay up with consternation each time I reached home post 10 pm.
It’s been a messy heartbreak. A loud one too. I scream hysterically (once I’m safely ensconced home) each time I have trouble finding a rickshaw home. I snap at folks who do not sympathize with my travel woes. I sob quietly when I see people twice my age limping at a traffic signal, hoping for some small change.
It’s not that I don’t love Bombay anymore. But its squalor disgusts me. It makes me feel small and inconsequential.