I was going to title the post as “Irritating Mumbai”, but decided against it. I realize that Mumbai is what it is, and it is I who is getting so irritated and frustrated with this city. I need to take responsibility for my feelings and responses to this city; it cannot be the other way around.
A year and half into living in this city and I have yet to make my peace with the move. Most days are good and I feel comfortable living here. Of course, as of now, this is not home for me. And home is where the heart is. However, the last few days I have been feeling extremely irritated and disturbed by the burdening demands of life in Mumbai. I have been on short fuse and everything about life in Mumbai is getting to me: the noises seem louder, the people on the streets seem to have increased, the winter lasted all of 1 week and the days are still warm, the dust continues to filter in through every crevice of the house, the maid has not been showing up on time, men are still disrespectful of women in this city, there are trashy programs and repeat shows on TV, and I am feeling drained. One of my psychotherapy clients rightly put it: ‘Mumbai is not a concrete jungle. It is junk!” I was shocked that there was someone who felt worse about this city than me, but I could also empathize with his sentiment.
I know that my irritation is heightened, more than usual, and it’s part of the growing pains of adjusting to a new city and culture….yes, I am still adjusting and navigating my way through the chaotic life in Mumbai. It still upsets me no end that no cab is willing to take you where you want to go, if it is a short distance. And the incessant honking??? It’s so hard to get a nap in the afternoon because of all the noise and honking. My god, people in Mumbai have no patience and such little tolerance, where time is concerned. I have now gotten into the habit of telling off the cab driver if he is honking more than required and asking him to knock it off. So far, no driver has protested.
I know that only I can address my irritation and frustration and soothe these extreme feelings that seem to haunt me in every waking and sleeping moment. It is the internal fire that needs to be squelched, although I will let it burn for a little while longer. It is important, I find, to give space to those feelings that rise and fall within you, and to not stuff them away at the first sign of discomfort. I am hoping that, in a few more days, the angst will subside and I will return to a more tranquil state of mind.