19th June, 2019
I remember how stubborn I was, 4 years ago, refusing to call Mumbai ‘home’ just because I didn’t want to embrace yet another change in my life. But then Mom told me that moving here might bring me a lot of good fortune because it was called the ‘City of Dreams’ and I’d have a better shot at turning my dreams into reality here. Here I am today, a few steps from actually being able to call myself a legit ‘Writer’ and it all just seems so surreal to me at this moment…”
I came to this city as a 17-year-old, wide-eyed and full of ideas and dreams. I remember when I wanted to apply to the college I studied in, the professors asked me why I wasn’t pursuing a degree in Science. I very confidently looked them in the eye and said “Because I want to be a writer,” and I could have sworn that they smiled. And it wasn’t the kind of smile that mocks stupid teenagers, it was a genuine smile. I’ll never forget that moment.
See, from the moment I stepped into the city, it had embraced me as one of its own, as much as I tried not to let it grow on me. But it grew on me and dug its roots pretty deep. I soon began to understand why Mom said that it could be good for me. I had become tougher and far more independent than I had ever expected myself to be. The more I explored the city on my own, the more I realized how much life and colour it was brimming with.
You see one thing about Mumbai in the movies: the crowds, the state of the city in the rains, the slums, the traffic. But what I saw was pure life; towering skyscrapers, a systematic life and endless possibilities. People actually come here to make a better life for themselves. Nobody judges you for what you wear or how you look— which was a breath of fresh air because I couldn’t even walk to coaching centres in school uniform back without being stared at, back where I used to live. It felt a lot like freedom and independence and I loved every bit of it.
4 years in, I’ve met a lot of amazing people here. My perspective has changed so much for the better and I have more confidence in unapologetically being who I am. Moving to this city was one of the best things to have possibly ever happened to me, and I can tell you that it was just by chance. But call it ‘placebo’ or optimism or whatever, the way I see it now, it feels like fate. I feel like it’s where I truly belong: among people who inspire one another.
So here’s to the City of Dreams that I once refused to embrace, but now call ‘Home’ instead. The magic hasn’t worn out yet and may it never fade.
Hey guys! For day 19, I chose to write about why I am grateful for the city I live in. Leave me a comment below if you like my post, or want to share stories about your city! I would love to hear from you. You can also contact me on my Instagram!
Featured Image: ©Shivam Bapat