An article in a newspaper few days ago took me back to my early days in Bombay. I was an outsider (technically I still am) and had no relatives in the city, not in the suburbs at least. Having survived 4 years in hostel (3 in Pilani and 1 in Chandigarh....Mohali actually) I was in no mood of staying in a women's hostel, so staying as a PG was a natural choice...scary but natural. But I had a friend from Mohali for company. So I just had to adjust with the landlady who in this case was a 75 year old lady and stayed alone in a 2 BHK in Andheri and gave out one room for paying guests. Her daughters finalized the deal and we had to shell out 2500/- per month each. In return we got a box for a room, 2 train berths for beds and an Almira. and coz we used her kitchen too, we had to divide the gas bill (it was a pipeline). Her cooking however used more fuel but never mind. At least we had an access to her television (after she slept of course) where we got our daily dose of Sex and The City once she was done with her kyunkis and kahanis. Our room had a small balcony (a 2 by 2 square place) where our landlady kept her tulsi ka paudha. Every morning she used to bang violently on our door (to keep a diya in tulsi).....we finally had to leave the door open in the night.
After a couple of months my friend's sister came to live with us and we graduated from the box to a 1 BHK. the house was bigger, each one of us had a whole; small but whole cupboard for ourselves, there were no beds but we had mattresses and the kitchen had a small dining table. we paid 2500/- per person for all of this. Electricity and gas bills came in separately. All this looked good, too good to be true actually. But it wasn't our happily ever after. Providing so many facilities and owning a house made our landlord and his wife think of themselves as demi gods. Well, that's the attitude every landlord in Bombay has....I guess. So, we had a huge list of rules, dos and donts. No boyfriends, no guys, no loud music, extra charges for a guest, no flushing the sanitary pads in the toilet (no I m not kidding, we were actually told not to do that), no hanging undergarments on the window, reason? you know uncles from neighboring flats watch, it doesn't look good...hah! are you sure auntyji that they watch our lingeries? cos I am not. On top of all of this our landlady barged into our flat whenever she wanted (she had an extra key), no knocking, no ringing the bell.....even while we were inside the flat.
Well, this continued for few months till we finally found a rented flat. the owner lived far away and visited only once a month to collect the rent. We stayed there with complete freedom till my friend/flatmate went back to her hometown. There was a whole new kind of struggle after that but I'll save that for the next time.
Friday, 22 April 2011
Monday, 4 April 2011
Finally....after 29 years of my existence in this world and a wait of almost 15 years I witnessed it. Yes.... I was there, I was a part of that magical moment. Like every other Indian I jumped with joy when Dhoni hit that massive six, like every other Indian I had tears in my eyes when Yuvi, Harbhajan and Sachin couldn't control theirs'. And after that the ear to ear grin just couldn't stop.
The feeling of winning the World Cup was yet to sink in when we decided to go out for a drive. I had no idea what awaited on the roads of Mumbai. It was sheer madness, people came out on the roads, waving tricolors, cheering for team India on top of their voices. People in the cars, people on the cars, there were people all around. Crazy, mad people, crazy with joy. Thats when it struck me that nothing else could do this to our country. No films, no festivals, no religion.... when Cricket takes over the nation becomes one. Strangers hug and high five each other, every difference dissolved, every problem forgotten. So what if we have to go back to the same old boring life the next day, so what if it doesn't bring down the increased prices, so what if it doesn't save us from traveling in buses and trains in scorching heat....If people think its over hyped just because it brings joy to our otherwise joyless lives, so be it.
Thank you team India for giving us something to look forward to when everything else seems crumbling.