In the first week of October, I took over as the curator for a Twitter handle called @WeAreMumbai – India’s first rotation curation account. I was introduced by the admin to some 16000 odd followers as a Goan in Mumbai. So as I took charge of the account, the first few questions only revolved around why I left beautiful Goa and came to nothing-less-than chaotic Mumbai. Also, do I love Goa more or is it Bombay that I love? I took at least a minute to frame a sentence within the limit of 140 characters. For once, the task wasn’t the character limit, but something even worse, putting together the right words.
Why did I leave Goa? For the ones who follow this column regularly, you already know the answer. But for the rest, I went to Mumbai for better opportunities. Almost six to seven years ago, Goa didn’t offer journalism courses, and Mumbai seemed the apt place to flee to. Gradually, Mumbai became a habit: I accepted the city’s pace, started loving the trains and got used to the angry yet enthusiastic Mumbaikars. I also liked the idea of escaping small town scrutiny. In Mumbai, it isn’t mandatory to sit with a couple of neighbours in the evening and share a few opinions about some people, which could be defined as gossip. I started liking this trend of being independent. Mumbai infused optimism into my veins. But when did I find myself overwhelmed with love for Mumbai?
The latter question cycled endlessly in my head. Goa stores all my childhood memories. Mumbai helped me discover myself and introduced me to the one I never imagined to be. Eventually, I embraced Mumbai as my true second home.
I like to be home (Goa) now and then — away from the city, the noise, the chaos. But then after a few days, usually less than a week, I miss it all and I want to go back to Mumbai, go back to work, wait for a Friday to arrive and take the weekend as it comes. And what about Goa?
Goa is where I was born. A lot of my friends do envy me because I’m a Goan. To them, Goa is a concoction of beaches, casinos, nightlife, live music and, not forgetting, pocket-friendly booze. Goa is a vacation spot and a place to unwind. Undoubtedly, Goa has this and much more too. Goa has people – people who think differently than I, people with rigid mindsets and then, there are people who care. The same group I come home for, year after year.
Last week, a friend from Goa asked me: How can you love two places all together? Isn’t it more like you’re married to Goa and having an affair with Mumbai? These combined questions were like a bullet in slow motion hitting my temple. My love for Goa and Mumbai was compared to a relationship. In that case, yes, I am committing adultery by loving Mumbai and Goa without a shred less or more.
Image courtesy: pearlstourism.net