Bombay: Bumping Along

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It’s been another extended hiatus from the blog, and, per usual, I’m mortified. However, in a departure from my regular line of excuse: laziness/tardiness, I actually have a valid reason for not getting a chance to write. I’ve moved! My return to India, August onward, had been characterized by the usual child-returning-home rigours: there was a lot of eating, having things done for me and, of course, touching base with friends and family over copious drinks and delicious dinners. But as soon as October 20th came around, I found myself packed and moved to Bombay for a new job in a new city and facing many other novelties, as I have so found since then. The highlight of my migration has been moving in with a dear friend till I figure out other living arrangements, or till we decide to make adjustments to the current ones. There is also the unbelievable service of having nearly everything imaginable delivered to your doorstep at almost any hour of the day.

I’m planning on keeping track of the many delights and frights the city has handed me in the last two weeks and probably will continue to in the days to come, and hopefully, most of them will make their way on to the blog.

I thought I’d begin by detailing the B’s that Bombay has so far brought me: bruises, bites, bumps and banishments.

Bruises seem like a good, meaty category to start with, for, of these, I now have many. They surprise me, each morning, in the shower, burgeoning black, blue or purple mixed with yellow, depending on their exact locale. Their appearance isn’t so much to do with my obvious lack of co-ordination and legendary cloddishness, but more with the sheer inability to adapt to the much reduced space of manoeuvring that I am now living within. Case in point: the bathroom (a bathroomette really). I cannot stand in the centre of it and simultaneously stretch my arms to their full capacity (and they aren’t albatross comparable in any way) without bending them at the elbow at an approximate 45 degree angle. Quick movements in such constraints are high on the Do Not Attempt list. My brain is still adjusting. It is, therefore, not uncommon for me to bash my elbow in to a wall while retrieving a shampoo bottle or backing in to the shower-area faucet while towel drying with arms tucked to sides. Just yesterday I received a mighty whack on the forehead from the door handle while lowering myself on to the toilet seat.

Window viewsThere is also the ‘remembering to walk over the plywood plank placed at the base of our front door to prevent the entrance of mice and other rodents in to our ground floor apartment’ that I conveniently forget while rushing out the house in the early hours. Stubbed toes and battered shins have resulted from this misdemeanour.

Our kitchen, okay, that’s pushing it already. Our kitchenette is marvellously cogent in demanding adherence to its dimensions. Its walls seem to bend forward to whack you on the behind in case you dare forget how little it is. It also uses the appliances, dishes and cupboards that have taken up residence in it to enforce these strictures. An innocuous hug to my room-mate resulted in a resounding thwack against a kitchen shelf, whose space I was clearly imposing on.

It’s taken two short weeks for me to understand and adhere to Bombay’s limited space story. The city, in all its colour, vibrancy and non-stop activity, is unbelievably rigid in that it has only so much to offer when it comes to area. I’m only hoping to find my own little nook in its sweep and stretch, enough to call my own and feel like the city’s too.

© Ayesha Sindhu 2014

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One thought on “Bombay: Bumping Along

  1. Super article Ayesha. Remarkable portrayal of life in a metropolis (nay, Bombay is a cosmopolis) – it is a ‘matchbox’ existence, but somehow folks who settle in there once can’t seem to stop loving the place. Keep writing about your experiences in B as compared to what you experienced in the Big Apple!!

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