Happy First Anniversary Rochelle & Mumbai

Indeed, it is my first anniversary of moving to Mumbai. September 5th, 2011, is a day I fondly describe in the words of ex-president George Bush as being in “shock and awe”. I clearly recall the day I landed in Mumbai – it is crystal clear, a memory that is etched in the recesses of my mind. It was about 2:30 am when we landed at the international airport, tired from all the exhaustion of traveling and saying goodbye to our old life. We had our cat in hand and luckily for us, immigration was quick. We got out of the airport and were greeted by cool winds, silence, and a whiff of tar. I was still in a daze, wondering, what next? It’s been one heck of a ride ever since.

The last 12 months have been incredible, some good and some, well, not so good. But more importantly, this last year has been an important learning experience, a testimony to human resilience and strength, a true test of fortitude, self-belief, and faith: faith in oneself and in one’s relationship with others. The city and I have romanced each other this last year, finding out what the other is made of, appreciating each others strengths and trying to change what we do not like about the other. So far it feels like we are yet undecided on how we feel about each other, and so the affair continues; the status of our relationship will be a mystery for now.

It is hard to fathom all that I have achieved in Mumbai in the span of 12 months: traveled to China and Bangalore to teach and present at conferences, visited Kashmir and Delhi/Agra for sightseeing, started a private practice in a matter of one month on arrival, started and completed the house renovations, and more importantly, did a pretty good job in maintaining my sanity through all of my trials and tribulations. I have discovered in my time so far, that Mumbai is a city that can provide an impetus or be the catalyst if you really have a fire burning within you. I discovered this when I lived here in my college days and I am rediscovering it again. Somewhere, somehow, knowing this fact, brings me some joy.

One year later, I am still in shock and awe of two facts, though: that one year has flown by so quickly, like a bolt of lightning, ripping every fiber and shred of humanness in me. Secondly, that some days I am still in disbelief that I have left the USA and have started a new chapter in my life in Mumbai. Perhaps you need to be in my shoes to really understand what I am trying to say – it’s never easy to just move base from one culture to another, especially when you feel like a stranger in your own back yard.

I’d like to share a poem by one of my favorite authors, Robert Frost. It speaks to the ambivalence I have often faced in my decision to move to Mumbai. I hope you enjoy it.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

…Robert Frost


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Micky Fernandez
    Oct 20, 2012 @ 11:24:52

    I recently came upon your post through Expat-Blog.com. Your post reminded me of when I escaped (I’m sorry, I meant to say “left”) from the U.S. I think that I have written about that day in a few of my posts, most notably http://mickyandrani.blogspot.in/2012/02/my-life-in-boxes.html.
    It has now been almost four years, and it seems that the more I know about India, the less I know about India.


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