This column first appeared in The Goan on Saturday and coincidentally, happens to be my 100th blogpost. Also, if you relate to this story, don’t forget to share it with the rest 🙂
During the last week, I came across a number of quotes on happiness. Coincidentally, I also signed up to #100HappyDays, a campaign being run on social media platforms that’s encouraging people to share one thing that bred happiness for 100 days in a row.
One evening, a hostelite was sharing with me how happy she’s been after moving to Bombay. I couldn’t agree more! This city has not lost its charm. But there was one feature in particular that she focused on — being independent.
Undoubtedly, live a year in Bombay and you will develop this skill which is only refined every time you stand up for yourself. Being independent gives us the freedom to do whatever we want without worrying about what my neighbour has to say about it.
To cite an example, one of my friends Rachana from Mangalore relocated to Bombay to craft a career for herself. When she took a break to see her family back home, one afternoon, she walked to the nearest KFC and enjoyed a meal by herself. When she told this to her parents, they were stunned. This is what Bombay does to the many of us. You feel like gobbling down some ‘paani puri’, you don’t need company for that. Scout around for a street stall, and enjoy the snack!
Another advantage of being independent is that you are not accountable to anyone. Your plans don’t depend on anyone else’s plan. You can pack you bag and take off whenever you think you need a break. Again, an independent person doesn’t normally need to wait for someone to come up to him/ her and suggest that s/he needs to take a break.
Come to think of it, the pros of being independent will run into pages. What I love most about being independent is that it relieves us from feelings of guilt because all decisions are taken by us and if we go wrong; we have no one to blame but us.
Invariably, we the people of Bombay are assumed to be emotionless. It’s actually not what everyone thinks it is. After a point, the city teaches you how to seal your emotions and carry on like the suburban trains do. These gigantic worms don’t wait for anyone; if you’re late by a second, you will miss the train. Then wait for another one to grace the platform.
But being independent isn’t all hunky-dory. If you fall into an open drainage, you will have to struggle your way back out of it. At times, discipline goes off track. But as long as you can peep into optimism, and treat these situations as a learning experience, we’re good to continue our ride.
Self-reliance is what many Goans in Bombay have learnt after they were thrown into the sea of chaos. Bombay gives you two options — you can either learn to swim your way out or let it overwhelm you and drown. Most of us choose the former because it teaches us how to take control of our destiny and be ourselves.
Image courtesy: www.whitesky.in