Weekend in Mumbai

I wanted to post this almost 3 weeks ago, but a birthday came in between. So, I had to give all the momentary self-realization nonsense priority. I was in Mumbai the first weekend of June to attend a good friend’s wedding. Sigh! Another one goes down. Anyway, it was good fun staying at his place and being with his cousins who threw a really fun bachelor party (naughty cake, alcohol and other good stuff). The great hangover aside (and the best wedding lunch ever) the trip offered a lot of moments of wisdom.

For example, irrespective of the problem you are facing, marriage is the answer in almost all Indian cultures. Your hair is turning grey…. Get married. Your hairline is receding….get married. You work too late…. Get married. You eat out too often….get married. You don’t save up enough money…get married. You wake up late…. Get married. You go to movies by yourself…get married. You listen to rock music…. Get married. You’re overweight… get married. Why? Seriously….Why? How is marriage a solution to all these problems? Is taking on a life partner some sort of panacea to all worldly problem? I always thought death was the ultimate release from all worldly problems. Oh, wait. Is marriage the equivalent of death? ( I know some folks are not going to like that analogy).

According to my limited understanding of these matters, the truth is that marriage for the sake of it is just a diversion. It removes your focus from the problems, or replaces them with new problems or offers you an analgesic to bear those problems. (I think I’m just rubbing the married folks off in a wrong way. They’ll come back to me writing about how awesome marriage is and that I’m narrow minded and selfish and that it’s so great having someone to wake up with every morning, someone to fight for, someone to share your dreams with and work towards….and other stuff. You guys will have to excuse me, but I don’t understand all that right now. Maybe when I get married I’ll begin to accept these half-truths)

Moving on before I make matters worse, second pearl of wisdom is that ‘Bangaloreans really need to get out of the city more often’. We were at the bachelor party. It was 9 PM and only a handful of people had walked in. I was getting rather worried because it was getting late. I went and confessed to my friend that it’s sad people can’t stick to time. I was reminded that I was no longer in Bangalore where the city closes by 11:00 PM. I've gotten so used to winding down by 10:30PM and heading home by 11:15PM, my body is not sure what to do when you’re high on booze and din-chak Bollywood remix beats are going on. It’s almost like an internal clock says,” Okay, that’s enough for you. Shut down please”. The same thing happened in New York(le drifter attacks). I was happily watching TV and checking email in my hotel room at 10:45 PM when I realized I’m in “the city that never sleeps”. I immediately got up, changed into non-PJs and walked around NYC. (Sigh, nostalgia is coming full full sudden sudden).

The last pearl of wisdom is that ,’ I will get yelled at by a local in every new city I go to’. I got yelled at by a street performer in NYC because I did not know that I had to pay him a dollar to take his picture. In Mumbai, I got off the local train at around 11:30. I walked out of the station and saw an auto slowing down. I got in and the auto was just starting when an old man jumped out of nowhere and started yelling at me in Marathi. I really wasn't sure what I had done to tick him off. He then yelled at the auto driver who just said ‘theek hain’ and pushed off. I later on figured that apparently there was a queue somewhere to catch a rickshaw and I unknowingly ignored the same. So did the auto driver. Mumbai folks take great umbrage to such behavior. My friend told me I was lucky that the public did not decide to beat me up. (Beating up – a favourite pastime of the middle class frustrated Indian)

Anyway, it was a super fun trip to Mumbai. I’d like to go there often, but there’s no way I see myself living in that city. A day job is strenuous in Bangalore itself, a city like Mumbai would probably kill me by the end of the first year.  Now, New York is a different story altogether. (Dear boss, hint hint wink wink… I’m sure I won’t be as incompetent as I am now once on foreign shores…preferably NYC)

Keeping it Childishly Real

29 and still confused