Seated on the chair in the balcony of my apartment, sipping coffee, my mind wanders back to the day I first stepped on to the platform of the CST in this infamous Mumbai city. As my eyes slowly drank the environment around the tea stalls, the vendors and the people rushing to their destination. They were so engrossed in their work and life that no one took notice of a girl who was standing on the edge of the platform wondering, where to next? Except when I felt a tug on my shoulder that startled me and in a blink of an eye my purse was being snatched away by a gruff man who then took off in the direction of god knows where! This was Mumbai I knew it, spending the childhood hearing stories of this city had taught me enough than to go after the man who snatched my purse. Little did he know that he wont find anything there except for the basic toiletries. A small smile spreads on my lips as I slowly whispered, “bring it on”.
The one who belongs to a small town is well aware of the family ties that drag along! so it was no surprise when I saw my maternal uncle walking towards me with that half smile half frown caressing his big belly. I touched his feet in the way to show gratitude, and he patted my back in acknowledgment feeling my bra strap in the process. Ah so he is one of those lichards I concluded. All I did is stepped on his god damn foot, pressing my heel into it. He yelped in pain as an evil smirk made its way onto my face. He is in a misconception if he thinks am one of those ‘aagyakari’ daughters! Giving him a final look I took off, alone in this city of dreams to taste my freedom.
Since I had nowhere else to go after I ditched my only uncle’s place, the first thing in my agenda was go place hunting. When I say place it does not mean a fancy apartment it means four walls that can keep me warm in the rigid cold of the night in the absence of sun. Once I found myself a room in some cheap hotel, I freshened up to look presentable for my interview scheduled in an hour at some charted accountant’s firm(mercy dad’s contacts). If you haven’t figured out yet, I am a CA.
Local trains the life line of Mumbai and a warning to non mumbaikars was something that I was going to experience next on a journey from center to suburb. Flabbergasted would be an understatement to my expression when I saw a borivali bound local train and the people aboard. I let that train go because there was no way that I could step in. Ladies compartment was way more crowded than the male so my next thought was why not get into the male compartment! And as the next train came I did what I thought was suitable as I climbed into the male compartment, Which would have probably been the end of me if it wouldn’t have been for few more ladies joining me in my expedition. Because for those men we were a sight to see as they mentally peel off every clothing on our body. My mean glare did nothing to ease the situation as one man gave me a half smirk as if laughing at me on inside. As I took in the appearance of other females with me in the compartment all I sensed was nonchalance, it was as if eye raping was a normal thing! How can one dismiss such a thing? And soon the answer came not from the almighty that I was talking to but from the petite female besides me, “ignore them” were her golden words!
Lot of things comes to me naturally but accepting the wrong is not one of them. So when we got down at borivali station I did what ‘me’ would do. I spread my feet when the man got down so he tripped though he balanced himself way too fast for my liking. But at least I got a chance to laugh inside when I said the beautiful word “sorry”. Head held high I took off, thankfully asking the right people for directions.
So this was my eventful day in the city. Now all I do is laugh at what I did then. I was indeed carefree of the consequences that shall follow my actions which in other words is irresponsiblity. But I know my husband fell for me for the very same streak. Yes! I am married to that charted accountant firm holder I met the very first day in this city. And it has been five years now. When I see our smiles on the photo hanging on the wall of the balcony, the one taken on our first date I realized how a small town girl survived in the metropolitian city of Mumbai and found love where the hypocrites reside! Its because I knew what I wanted and I knew how I can get it. It’s not about going with the flow; it is about changing the course according to your will and not losing what you are in the process.