I know I haven’t blogged in over a month and I have come to realize that blogging is like a drug for me….the more I blog, the less irritated I am about life in Mumbai. I haven’t been blogging for several reasons: my private practice has been really going strong, the house renovations are still going on, I continue to be physically drained from the heat of Mumbai, I was away in China for about 2 weeks, and I am still trying to figure out life on Mumbai’s terms! It’s tough.
I was on the plane from Shanghai to Mumbai, and I noticed the deep sadness that sat pretty around me, as if I were enveloped in it. I felt a lot of resistance getting on that Cathay Pacific airplane from Shanghai, feeling the heaviness and disappointment of returning to Mumbai. Strangely enough, I felt no hesitancy or anxiety about getting on the plane for Shanghai (I was presenting at a conference and teaching in China on the topic of Humanistic-Existential Psychology). But as I look back, I can understand why. In Shanghai, I reconnected with some of my very dear Humanistic Psychology colleagues from the USA, colleagues that I had a deep bond with for many years. When I landed in Shanghai and saw those beautiful faces, I realized how much I missed those connections and friendships. I felt like I was at home, instantly getting comfortable with my American counterparts, basking in their love and affection for me. Not once did I think of Mumbai nor did I find myself counting the days for my return. I found myself just taking one day at a time, soaking in the familiarity, trust, and friendship that I continued to receive from my colleagues. It was magic!
And right enough, I landed in Mumbai and stepped out of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (Mumbai) and found myself in 30 degrees Celsius weather, with 55% humidity, and tons of people swarming around me. I knew I was back in Mumbai, for sure! It took me about 3 days to re-settle into life in Mumbai after being away for only 10 days. For anyone who has not been to China, it is a clean, organized, and beautiful country! I traveled in China and also spent time in Shanghai and was terribly impressed by the cultural richness and diversity that this city boasted. It definitely surpasses Mumbai in its pollution levels though, but other than that, it was like I was in Asia’s very own Manhattan! Of course, I have to give it to the Mumbaikers that their English-speaking skills are way much better. In fact, English barely exists in China, even in Shanghai! It was really hard communicating with a lot of the inhabitants of Shanghai, especially at local shops and restaurants.
After my trip to China, I went for a weekend stint to Della Adventures in Lonavala. This is a fantastic adventure park/ resort and I highly recommend it. I noticed that as I was driving back to Mumbai, I was feeling down in the dumps again. I find that every time I return to Mumbai, it is a difficult experience. It’s happened every single time: my return from Delhi, Goa, Bangalore, China, and now Lonavala (barely a 2 hour ride from Mumbai). I notice a change in my mind and body, where my physical energy drops and I feel psychically drained, as if I walked one hundred miles in the grueling heat and dirt of a mighty desert.
There is a certain numbness and restlessness that I feel – it’s a strange combination, because on some days, I am plain irritated, and on other days I am indifferent and callous in my attitude towards people and things. There is an edginess I seem to experience in my daily affairs, as I navigate through and negotiate life in Mumbai. I am hoping that the edginess will gradually wear off and be replaced with more gentleness and kindness; gentleness and kindness toward my self and my new surroundings.