Tuesday, January 17, 2012


“So what was it?” he asked “what stopped you, and what was it between us?” referring to the crackling chemistry that would be flying between us when we were together.

More than 8 years after we put those memories to rest, they came tumbling back, in a conversation in a cab on a familiar route – me dropping him to Church gate station. He and I are great friends, and we’ve been in each other’s lives a long time – his feelings for me notwithstanding.

We met yesterday after more than 2 years – the last time we met, we both were applying for B schools in different parts of the world, not knowing where we’ll be. We were also on top of the helipad of my building – 44 floors above Mumbai overlooking the sprawling city, looking tamed and subdued from our perspective.

So really what was it? He really seemed like every girls dream – much like other boys in my life I couldn’t give myself to... gentle, kind, sincere, smart, sensitive, dimpled [ god, that dimple ]made me feel prettier than I was. I’ll never forget that time we were all going out and I asked him if my Kajal was smudged – he just looked back at me and said ‘You’re asking the guy who thinks you have the most beautiful eyes in the world’ Now, I would listen to that and shrug and assume it’s a cliché.. yesterday he tells me they weren’t – that he meant it. I’ll never forget that time in the rick when he suddenly held my hand for a few mins and traced all my lifelines as though committing to memory – when I asked him what happened and why he was holding my hand, and doing what he was he said ‘I’ll never get to hold this hand as though its mine, and I don’t know when ill hold it again’

I told him that yesterday – that we would have been horrible together and that’s why I never said yes. That I would’ve stifled the free spirit bullet rider in him. “Hello! Do u realize what a free independent crazy person you are, how could you have stifled me?” I had nothing to say.

I told him I was a spoilt South Mumbai girl and that he would’ve gotten tired of my hangups. “Basically the very things I adored?” he asked.

We never dated but we had this chemistry, these things which he’d keep saying and I’d brush off, those random moments when he’s do something so simple – draw my graphs for me in engineering cause he knew I’m horrible at being precise, brush a strand of hair across my face when I was intently trying to get my isometric drawing right. We had this thing where I would just be speechless or time would stand still for a few minutes – yet I couldn’t get myself to say ‘yes’

“I would’ve gone the distance ” he said and he smiled that smile which I remember so vividly. That smile urging me to let go, to say yes, to give in, to belong.

And with that, Churchgate station arrived all too soon, he got off the cab, this time with a handshake – wished me happiness and I wished him luck for his impending marriage in 8 months.

This finding the ‘right person’ business is quite annoying. Why can’t I just get myself to like a ‘nice person’ instead? There seem to be plenty of those in my life!

The right before I left home post

And just like that, its time for goodbyes again. The new year begins and my 5 weeks at home draw to an end. Its amazing, how 3 weeks ago I felt like I wasn’t fitting into the puzzle, I was strangely removed from my old life.. but suddenly everything fits – the clothes, the life – everything. I’ve grown to drive over the bumps and grumble under my breath and then move on, to learn to cuddle up to mom and answer incessant questions, to text her once I get back home at night even though she’s in the next room. Teeny things like that which I had forgotten. This week will be tough. I hate goodbyes. I especially hate doing them twice. Saying it to parents is even tougher. To moms? It’s just cruel. Specially mine. She tries to play the strong girl card but it never works. Last year on my way to the airport I left my hairclip clipped on the car handle on the roof – this year when my dad picked me up, 1.5 years later, the clip was still there. My cupboard, still had the same old clothes I had left behind – only washed and ironed. Ma hadn’t moved a thing.

This departure is hard.. I leave not knowing when Ill be back, or how different things will be when I am. Most of my friends are married or engaged or on the brink of being either one of the two. Most of my best friends are boys [ the ratio of men : women in engineering colleges in India is 90:10 ] therefore when they’re married our equations will change. Most of their girlfriends hated me – why wont the wives?! This time when I leave it seems more indefinite.. uncertain.

The trip home was amazing.. goa was just an absolute blast. The road trip was 3 people in a scorpio – the most cosy drive ever (for me, sleeping sprawled in the back seat), and the 4 days were just phenomenal. I have some special moments I’d like to store away…

Like when D and me walked the entire stretch of Morjim beach and spoke about the last 10 years and then made a bucket list and a 5y/10y plan in the sand. That bucket list is another blog post. We had overpriced coconut water and spoke about all our what if’s and thank god its over relationships and the last 10 years of our lives..

Abhi and I stole time away the same evening, at Club Fresh Morjim beach [ SUPERLOVE the place] and spoke about everything we didn’t speak about in the last 10 years – wat his life was really like in America, what he never told me cause I was too much of a prude and too conservative haha – how times change! We exchanged gossip and scandals –me not so much, but it was fun getting to know the parallel life of someone so close to me who had to hide things from me just so that he stays in my good books.

One time when I was in the last seat in the Scorpio and I could see 6 people ahead of me, grooving to the music as we drove down to the beach… I don’t know what it was about that moment as I looked at 6 of us, 28 year olds – I felt 16 all over again, naive and innocent… I watched D make that same hand dance movement he does since the last 15 years, Rush look grumpy as he drove, K and Cy (a new +1 to the group) hold hands. Abhi check his bb for the 99th time that hour and me in the last seat looking at how everyone was just together, yet apart – strung together by the music, this trip and countless years of memories. Everything and everyone just froze for a few moments and a snapshot remains in my mind..

We spent each night partying – the last night at Hype made me feel 45 years old what with 18 year old children dancing around us. At a.m. there were more of these kids asleep on the chairs outside and drunk sitting on the floor than there were inside dancing. That separates the men from the boys and the children from the adults I guess :-/ Only I wish I was the child in this situation – Someone needs to make the impending 30’s go away!! Ugh! Remind me to make the most of these 2 years please?

Unlike last new years which I spent asleep in LA after spending 30th and 31st standing in lines at Universal studios and Sea World, and the new year before that which I spent at my helipad shunning the big commercial party my friends went to, this year I went. To a big new year party, the kind I don’t like. 90 people, commercial music, unlimited food and alcohol a bomb on the wallet – all that. A private party at a private bungalow in Madh island. I had a blast! I am such a disbeliever in partying on new year’s – especially in Mumbai. It’s the most overrated night of the year- you pay five times as much to drink the same alcohol you would on a normal night, you spend an average of 3-6 hours travelling by car, and most of the times, the alcohol and food is almost over by the time you get there.

This party was different – it was well organized [ Kudos to Dev, Dar, Rush ], the cocktails were amazing, the food was brilliant and never ran out and the music was insane!

Monday, January 16, 2012

In Hindsight

Its 1 a.m. and Im wide awake. Thanks Jetlag. Slept from 3 p.m. 8 p.m. against all wise thoughts advising me against.

Got back yesterday and went straight to my other home - V's house. It felt like the last time when I first came to the US... going to V and Ro's house and staying with them. it was different though - living with them and another friend for the first 10 days away from home felt more like a picnic than like I had moved away. This time, I came back to an empty house. I felt miserable.

All those things I went back to Mumbai saying I loved about America suddenly felt overrated and not so nice. The quietness for example - when I first got to Mumbai i couldnt sleep with the constant humdrum of traffic or street dogs or something or the other and was telling my mom how quiet my room in America is. Last night I was haunted by the tick-tock of the clock in my room and the sound of my own breathing. I almost wanted it to rain to drown it out..

Everything in the last two days seem dull, tasteless and out of place. When I reached Mumbai I felt strangely removed, and now that I'm back in the US I feel the same.. where do I belong?
My clothes all fit the hangers in the empty space in my closet here - and I hated that. I hated that i had a suitcase full of stuff which actually fits in my closet here... i hate the radio with the Bobby brown show which plays the same 15 songs over and over and there's no masala for me to crib about.

I missed my space in Mumbai and now I miss the people. I spent the last two days just getting my routine back - cleaned my house, got my groceries, washed my car - all feeling listless. I shouldnt have made my laptop wallpaper the picture of my family, its making it harder. What was worse was that I forgot my charger at V's house on saturday and my phone was off for a day and a half and through feeling terrible, I couldnt make any calls :-/

I hate having the room all to myself and not having my brother around to talk to before sleeping. I thought i loved this, clearly not. I hate not having to tell anyone what my plans are for the day or what time Im coming home. it makes me feel more grown up than I want to..

I thought it would be easy this time. I hadnt gone back last december because I knew I'd never settle in - so I travelled instead. I thought this time, since I have a routine, a car, tonnes of awesome friends, a semester to look forward to, it would be easier. It really wasn't.