Thursday, February 22, 2007

Life vs Life

Opportunities and better opportunities—is there any end to it? You just go on & on. You need to decide. You are either this side or the other side, you cannot always take the middle path. And almost always we want to take the path in-between almost in everything.
Mumbai is the city of opportunities. You will ask for one, you will get hundred. But what happens to life? My personal experience is it is very tiring and exhausting. Life in Mumbai drains you and you need tremendous amount of energy to sustain there. Picture this; you get up in the morning according to what time you have to catch the train. You keep at least 45 minutes for commuting, even more in most cases. But 45 minutes is minimum, if we keep the case of lucky few aside.
You reach office anytime between 9.30 and 10 am. By that time, you probably missed your regular local or caught it just-in-time, in which case you did not get a seat and kept standing and struggling to get some fresh air, throughout your journey. Even if you managed to sit, you probably squeezed in between a fat aunty who would not budge even an inch and another who is already struggling to keep herself on the seat. If you get down at Lower Parel, then God only can save you. Perhaps 80% of the entire Borivali to Churchgate crowd gets down there; so you really got to struggle to get down at the right time. And if you do not have to get down and still you are anywhere near the entrance, even God cannot save you. Abuses are hurled at you and people stamp your feet and you are pushed from all sides. When you finally get down at your station you wonder if the day has actually begun or ended! But you are not so lucky because the day has just begun, and anyways you are in Mumbai, my dear!
Then you get out of the station, and you are into yet another struggle to manoeuvre your way into a cab. And finally, you land up into your office. While entering your office, the first thought that crosses your mind is—is it only a Tuesday! 4 more days for the weekend! Oh God, please give me strength to go through this entire week successfully. Then its time to check your mails and make job list for the day. Obviously, you do not need to make new ones everyday, just change the date of the job list, which you made earlier because anyways jobs don’t get over just like that. It takes its own pace to see the end of it. Let’s not get into the details of the “exciting” work we do. Somehow, we just manage to get through the day after many cups of tea and coffee, many rounds of gossip and bitching and obviously looking at the watch twice per second (if that is possible). While going back at 9 pm we think about all the wonderful things our friends are doing, the fat packages they are drawing for doing “exciting” jobs and also about our own pathos and whether we are going to feel the same each day for the rest of our work life. Whatever happened to job satisfaction and “my work is my hobby” kind of life?
When you get back there is no energy left for doing anything else. You just look at the piles of “nice” books you got to read, that some day you would read them! So that’s life in Mumbai where you get time to talk to your loved ones from your office phone or while struggling in locals.
Take Two. You get up in the morning. You feel the fresh air of the morning. You do not have to rush to board a local so you take your time. You exercise, go for a walk, even cook your breakfast. Then you leisurely get ready, and still reach office by 9 am. Okay, 9.15 0r 9.20 am. You check your mails, reply a couple of them and take necessary actions for the urgent ones. You go for tea at 10 am and the day sails along smoothly. Before you realize, it is 6 pm. Normally you get back to home by 7 pm, then you go to Gym or play Badminton or just go out for a movie. You do not have to wait for the next weekend to enjoy yourself! You do all that and then you enjoy your book too. You catch up with friends and sometimes gossip till wee hours of the morning. Welcome to life in Pune.
Yes, you give up “better” job opportunities but you get a better life in bargain, where you can just pause for a moment to enjoy yourself, without missing your local!
Your life is an outcome of the choices you make in life—today I truly understand the meaning of this line.


  1. Dear Penandpaper,
    You seem to be undergoing some sort of a 'Mumbai-syndrome' :-)
    come on girl, life is all about enjoying, having fun, laughing and doing stuff which we want to do.
    Well, we might not get all of these at the same time, but it sure is a lot more sane and satisfactory living it the way you like it, rather than living in the chaotic lifestyles that Mumbai (and most cities) offer.
    If you are indeed living the way you described 'Take 2', then I am really happy for you :-)