All this while, I have been telling you that I was quite excited and looking forward to my first internship in Mumbai. And I am, regardless of Avan and the issues I am having with Sumer. But, to be honest, I was also slightly nervous about being alone in Mumbai. Though I have always been on the move, thanks to my dad’s army postings, I have always had my family around. Life and existence was pretty cushy and smooth sailing. So, while moving here, I went through a range of emotions — would I ever feel homesick? Whose shoulder would I shed tears on, on bad days? What if I felt lonely in Mumbai? What if I can’t make real friends here?
Honestly, one of the reasons I decided to stay with Sameera was that I know her since our frock wearing days. It’s easier to be yourself and share your life with someone who knows you for many years, right? And with every passing day and a few not-so-nice episodes later, I am now unknowingly realising that I am forging strong and supportive bonds with strangers even in this chaotic city. These are not people with whom I have a blood relation, but they are, very slowly and steadily, becoming my family.
The other day, I was in a foul mood as I got into a fight with Avan at work. When I reached home, Kartik and Sameera noticed my troubled self. I didn’t want to share my sob story, but they just wouldn’t give up and dragged me out of the house to liven up my mood. By the time I got home, I had forgotten about Avan and her atrocities. There have been times when Sameera and Kartik made my life in this city easy and breezy. Thank God, for giving me such wonderful roomies. And it feels like I have found a family here. Many of Sameera’s friends are not from Mumbai and they are all each other’s lifelines. Be it dawn, dusk or midnight, they are just a call/ text away. And I always thought a lifeline was a family member or a blood relative.
What really surprised me, though, is the unique concept of train groups in Mumbai! Since I have Mia to take me to work, I haven’t really experienced local train commute to witness famous train groups. One of my colleagues takes a train from Borivili to work. One evening, she left early from office to celebrate a ‘train’ friend’s birthday. I was a little baffled, but she told me there are many who have friend circles formed in trains. It’s the everyday travel rigmarole that brings these commuters together to forge a familial bond — just like the connection I have with Sameera and Kartik; just like people who stay as paying guests form a bond with the families they stay with; just like your office colleagues who become ‘family’ because of the sheer amount of time you spend with them.
Over the course of my stay in Mumbai so far, I am realising that humans are naturally social, and inadvertently end up finding people who become their lifelines. What bring people together are the experiences and situations they encounter together. And in the city of dreams, almost everybody is sailing in the same boat.
Catch the interesting tale of Meera Sehgal in Girl In The City on bindass’ Facebook page every Thursday at 7.30 pm