I’m writing this from a Starbucks somewhere in Bangalore (it’s nicknamed Silicon City because of all the tech presence. Mumbai’s nickname is Maximum City). There’s a group in front of me with a guy who is speaking without moving his head or blinking. He is either taking or giving an interview. Anyway…for the last so many years I’ve always written blog posts (on my old one which is now gone) about life stuff and at one point high fashion because I had a lot of useless info on it thanks to something I was doing. Honestly, it’s more fun to write about anime and such things now, coming back to it after many years…three super cool looking Buddhist monks just took the seat opposite the unmoving man. Do monks drink coffee? They arrived in an SUV so I guess these are some urban variety of monks. Wonder if they are recruiting.
Anyway, at-times I miss rambling to cyberspace about what’s happening in my life though, especially when it gets truly life-changey, so here goes. I’m moving from Mumbai (there’s even a book calling it Maximum City) to Bangalore next month due to a transfer in my work (a big thanks to my friend Aldrean for making those initial days of getting the process started easier). I’ve moved and traveled around a lot both within India and outside it due to many different reasons so this is nothing new. Bangalore is no stranger to me also though I’ve never lived here.
But it’s a bit more significant shifting like this because Mumbai has always been the one place on the entire planet which feels like home to me. It’s my city though I wasn’t even born there. It’s old name is Bombay and it was changed to Mumbai a few years ago. Anyway, not sure why I love this place. It felt like home from the first time I was here for a visit well over a decade ago and I’ve lived here in two instalments for six years altogether. But lately, I was starting to feel a bit left out there. Again not sure why. Nothing changed but I was just sort of done with it for a bit. Maybe the pandemic, don’t know. I’ll never be completely done with it though.
I guess I like Mumbai because it’s a bit like me. Something very old (I’m around 85 inside my own head) packaged in something young, not belonging to any one culture, religion, architecture, geography, you name it. It’s got old churches, ancient Hindu temples, a healthy share of the very few Parsi fire temples and Towers of Silence in the world. But it’s also got the hedonism and sheer materialism of the film and fashion industries juxtaposed against drab everyday corporate existences. It’s got the swankiest of hotels but also the seaside chowpattys where you can have a great time in under a hundred rupees.
It’s got hills and the ocean. It’s even been the hub of the underworld for decades but is still an extremely safe city to live in. I studied there and it never shuts down so it’s got the memories of finishing up assignments in the middle of the night to head to Marine Drive by the sea in Colaba in a tired stupor. It’s got my colonially hungover current home of Bandra and also the Naval base where I had found a very fun and frankly doomed-from-the-start romance. In fact, quite a few memories of misadventures both romantic and otherwise. It’s got me and even though I’m leaving it now I know I want to be back in a few years.
I’ve been spending a few days in Bangalore to figure out a place to stay and for whatever reason I’m ok with the move. Not ecstatic because it’s not Mumbai but it will do. The crowd here is much younger, most are techies (I’m not one), I have more friends here than are left in Mumbai post-Covid, it’s got that traditional South Indian vibes under a very, very posh and modern facade. It’s ok for now I guess. The toughest part of this change was starting to say goodbye to a team I built from scratch since they were given to me pretty raw and had been boss-less a while before me (it’s a total GTO situation…not). I was surprised to see actual tears when I told them I was not going to be working with them anymore (I didn’t cry cause I was supposed to be tough for them but I swear by my last day I probably will). Am still in the process of preparing them for the change but I’m going to miss them. Yet change is a constant and maybe Silicon City won’t be so bad.
Wherever I’ve taken an image from another website I’ve linked the original to the image. The ones without links are my own photos.