Home : Making a new home – Sonal Bhandari Biyani – Medium

I am not sure when Mumbai became home, perhaps when I knew that the only place I could have a career would be this. It took me in, in its maddening pace jacketed with pockets of peace. In all its over arching glory of being the maximum city, Mumbai stopped feeling alien. I learnt the names of famous places, people, joints, I embraced the city and it embraced me back. I fell in love and out of it and then again in this city. It was a city of love and heartbreaks for me. Before I knew it, I knew the local train time table at the back of my hand. I knew how to hail a taxi and make bus and train friends, how to comb my hair while walking and letting it go when the umbrella gave way in the rains.

The marriage happened, so did the house and the kid. The neighbors or the extended family happened and the colleagues happened and the heart was just anchoring more and more. Every time I went home or rather to my childhood home, I felt that little part of me veering in the new city I called home. I loved its pace, its passive aggressive detachment, its warmth and its people. The corporate job took me to parts of the city I’d never see and experiences I could never own but I earned them yes. This was my home.

Until we moved to a new city, which wasn’t my childhood home or a city which I thought would be my home. It was conjectural, a thread turned pink in potassium solution (it got pink because it was in that solution). I came to because it was my husband’s childhood home. Who knows if he ever made Mumbai his home the way I did. But here I was levitating in a state of randomness. Moved out from a city I learned to call my home and cherishing it and moving to another one which wasn’t my home, well not yet.

When I go back to Mumbai now, I take a step back and listen to all the cacophony around me. The neighbors hustling to work, that pressure cooker whistling in the wee hours of the morning, the clatter of footsteps of people running to offices in that bus, that train, that auto. Suspended in the confusion of calling this home and looking for strangers to rent out the house, I feel strange. The place for kitchen garden has been taken over by billowing and cooing pigeons, there’s a slight stain on the wash basin of the water gently seeping on its edges. My heart breaks a million times.

Nothing has changed in this city. People living in Borivli still don’t get into Virar local and Hill road still sells the adulterated fashion with aplomb, that Candies still sits pretty in Bandra and Investment Banking still races my heart. But the heart is anchored to a new place now, before I realize it. I miss my white bedroom in Surat, the pillow in my bedroom in Mumbai gave me a headache and this isn’t comforting me. I’m lost in the import and export of feelings. But it feels nice to still be able to tell your new friends in a new city about the city you made your home. Mumbai I miss you

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