Life in Mumbai is hectic, sometimes painfully so. Over the last few months, I have been in deep awe of the ability of the human spirit to survive and revive, even in the wake of madness and chaos. When I think of my own strength and belief to make this massive transition from San Francisco to Mumbai, I am amazed by my ability to thrive and make the most of, what appears to be, a dismal situation. Be it the large-scale corruption, the pollution, the astronomically high cost of living, the increasing population, and even the incredible poverty that I come across on a daily basis, I find that my spirit is able to rise above all the uncertainty and find meaning in and have gratitude for all the experiences that are thrown away.
I am becoming increasingly aware of this idea even as I continue my work with my patients – each one has a story to tell, some of them extremely disheartening and others not so painful. Day in and day out, I hear the stories and narratives of these people, all of whom are struggling and dealing with life and its challenges. Each story is different; each tale is unique. But the theme that is common to all their stories and to mine and yours as well, is the idea of resilience.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines resilience as follows: “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” I believe the human spirit is resilient by nature, even though sometimes it is hard to imagine so. There is a certain spark within each one of us that is eager to blaze into a fire, even in the most dire circumstances. And it’s not a question of whether this spark will burst into flames or not, but more a question of time; for some, it is longer and for others, it happens before they even know it. But it does, one way or another.
When I am walking around in Mumbai or traveling by train, the resiliency of the human spirit is so blatant, that it’s always inspiring to me. Whether it is the homeless boy doing all that he can to earn some money or whether it is the 3-legged stray dog that is determined to cross the road in heavy traffic, no one in Mumbai ever gives up. Perhaps, Mumbai herself has a resilient spirit or maybe this is all a grand illusion, a game of some sorts? It doesn’t really matter.
I have learned, in my 14 months in Mumbai, that my stay in this city is directly proportionate to the choices I make. We all make choices on a daily basis: some are wise, some not so wise. But they are our choices, and we must live with them. I made a conscious choice to move to Mumbai, and though in the beginning it was very tough (and sometimes still is), I am beginning to realize that I must learn to make the most of my choices, and with each passing day, I am able to make peace with this idea.
Freddie Mercury states it best in his song The Show Must Go On. Hope you enjoy the video: