**This post was from a little over a year ago when I re-moved to Bandra. It was written on a Sunday so I’m posting it. I never posted it after I wrote it and I don’t know why.
Sitting in one of the three Starbucks located in the Khar/Bandra area (this is my first time at this specific location). Not mad at it since there’s not even one step to enter, so so rare in this country. The upstairs has more seating and I’m sure it’s much more open. But here I am since it’s close to home. A good way to get out of the house, although I’d be happy sitting in my PJs in my beautiful (albeit, regrettably noisy) apartment. I had Balu come later in the afternoon today, since I woke up late and it’s Sunday. I didn’t feel like starting the day with a packed morning punch I normally throw.
The initial descent into Mumbai was as expected. My body ached but not as much as I expected it to. I slept for a few hours on the flight but the extreme turbulence made me so uneasy. At one point I felt like the plane might go down. I’ve experienced travel/plane paranoia before (see my post Old Gay Love). It’s seriously the worst. I popped a pill and eased my nerves by telling myself that it’s okay, if this was my last sleep there’s nothing I can do. The only thing I might regret would be scolding mom for some stupid shit she said before I left. God, I’m such a bitch. What’s wrong with me? Then I zonked out.
As I traveled through the airport, I noticed the newness of Terminal 2. I saw it when it first opened when I was traveling from Mumbai to Newark in 2014 but I hadn’t seen what it looked like coming to India. People (that looked Indian) took pictures by the modern waterfall. More pictures, more sculptures, more art. Mumbai’s gotten an upgrade. I made a promise to myself to make this time different. It wouldn’t be all about therapies and treatment this time. I would maintain my Americanness. It’s part of who I am. India has a way of changing you but I like the way I am. I know India. It’s not my first time. I would let myself keep up what’s comfortable to me in American and make that work here. I would bow out of some of India’s hard and fast rules.
Some things I would keep for myself included:
-I won’t entertain random uncles or people’s curiosities. It’s too time consuming and I just don’t give a damn anymore.
-Time is important. I won’t waste mine here. Productivity and using my mind for purposeful things is important to me.
-Order (almost) everything online, have it delivered, or have someone pick it up for you. I wasted so much time last I was here running around buying groceries, knick knacks, stupid shit for my apartment. In a way, it helped me explore the city, it’s people and the Mumbai motions, but it was almost always exhausting and a huge waste of time.
-Stick to 1-3 therapies locally, that’s it. People offer their opinions for everything here: from physical therapists to the best carpenters and hair stylists, I’ve learned to way I feel comfortable and my best. There is something to be said about going out of your comfort zone but listen. I’ve been to Mumbai too many times to keep going out of my comfort zone. Also, everyday at least once I am encountered with an experience which is out my realm of comfort. So let me go to Jean Paul Biguine, spend a little extra and feel at home.
Stay open, stay positive but keep in mind you have the experience behind you to know what to do. Allow your past encounters to guide you in a better, more well-balanced life here for yourself this time around. Whatever that means specifically, remember that you got this. It’s not your first time around.
You came here for domestic help, physical therapy and the lifestyle that India affords you. Mainly for the help so let them help you. Do things yourself when you can but for now, till you gain that strength back, allow Jaiya and Balu to be support system right now.
Free yourself from that fear that you have that you won’t find love or mom will be sick or that you will have zero career and serve zero purpose in this lifetime. Time is so precious but you must not be pressurized to get everything accomplished in one days time. Things take time, especially those that are worthwhile take time to flourish.
Back to my airport exit: My bags came out quickly. The wheelchair guy threw my ginormous luggage onto a cart which he wheeled with one hand and pushed me along in the other. I called Balu on the wheelchair guy’s phone. I saw Dad and Balu, Dad looked cooler than normal with his dark washed jeans and loafers. Dad? Is that you? He seemed calm and happy. I was tired but happy. I made it. No one died. I didn’t lose anything. Dad’s safe. I am safe. Success.
I didn’t talk about the apartment, brokers, anything during the car ride. Same old Innova ( no, like its old and run-down now) and same street of Mumbai. A thick layer of smog filled the skies. All I could do was watch the streets. I remember Deepali doing the same when I picked her up from the airport the last time she came to visit me. There’s so much to see. But I feel jaded, unimpressed by the outlandish nature of the streets scenes.
Side-note: why are there people crammed up in this Starbucks? It’s spilling over with people. It’s just Starbucks, people. Calm yourselves.
A breakdown of what’s inside my head: Car ride/Taj/Same people, different year/they remember me, yay!/breakfast at the Taj/owner of celestial sucks/no place to live/back to the hotel/call those brokers/apartment hunting/it’s gross living with a man in a hotel room/can’t wait to have my own bathroom/grossed out my D’s scratching /breakfast/l’amour, yes I need to live here/no monies in the banks/shit/when am i getting out of this hotel/contacting people i know here/ashok/mona/l’amour/i don’t know the answer to some of these questions.