It really does.
It’s been 3 years since I moved to Delhi. THREE.
It was sometime in August 2010, when I landed a job and made the move. The parents came along to settle me in a rented place. Everything I brought along with me fit in 2 metal trucks and 1 suitcase. I had traveled the Mumbai-Delhi circuit tens of times on the Rajdhani. But the journey of August 2010 was different. Unlike all the other journeys, this one was heavy with a mix of high emotion, a bit of anxiety and a lot of hope.
It wasn’t an easy decision to move. Mumbai was home. It was familiar. The family lived there. I understood how the city functioned and how its people were. I loved its sultry and hot weather, the 4 months of incessant rains. Its overcrowded roads, the locals and the ubiquitous vada pav and bombil were integral to my life. I was used to its pace and energy. Anything slower was boring. This was the city where I studied and subsequently entered the professional world. I learnt the basics of my profession; made my errors, fumbled and learned at the workplace. All the relatives felt Delhi wasn’t the right choice. This wasn’t a city for single working women and it wasn’t the “right” age to move away from home. It was too much trouble “for a little more money”. Inspite of all this, I moved.
Delhi, though once familiar, was a faded part of my history. It had undergone such a degree of transformation in the years that I had been away, that I didn’t recognize it. Everything was sharply different from what I remembered it to be. Everything felt new. And like a new shoe, it dint fit. Anxious and unsettled, I set about making this city home, knowing at the back of my mind that it would never really be home.
Naturally, there were challenges. An unbelievably difficult landlord. Impossible maids. Harrowing experiences with the public transportation system. Culture shock at the workplace. Unexpected tests and trails on the professional front. Severe bouts of homesickness. Unresolved personal issues that caused mental stress. Health issues that showed up every once in a while.
Despite these obstacles, I stayed on. And to my surprise and delight, Delhi rewarded me. I’ve found acceptance and recognition at the workplace. Personal finances look better than before. Old friendships have been revived and some new ones established. I learnt to handle difficult people (landlords/office staff/neighbourhood grocer/bus conductor). Finally I’ve learnt, at least to an extent, to mentally separate office life from personal life. Delhi helped me develop a new hobby-photography. It charmed me with its gardens, broad roads and open spaces historical monuments and friendly people.
Through the 3 years of ups and downs, the parents were always only a phone call away. And on some occasions, just a flight away. Eternally grateful, ma and pa. The serene and calm environs of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Dakshin Delhi Kali Bari also deserve a special thank you. Both places were visited frequently. Both never failed to calm, encourage and reassure.
About 6 months back, I reassessed my life. I had achieved more than I had hoped to. And just when I thought my work here was done and it was time pack the bags and head back to Mumbai, I found a reason to stay on. The ways things have developed, it seems like Delhi will be home for some time now. I thought this journey was over. May be its only just begun.