Lovenote to the Cocoon from the Butterfly
You’re not my first. You know that. And you are mature enough not to feel outraged by it. This is one of my most favourite things about you. Yes, one of, you heard it right. There are some more that I practically love about you. I have said a lot of negative things about you over the course of our relationship, some reasonable, some utterly baseless. I shall apologize for saying them, but towards the end. This is a love letter, and I don’t want it to begin with apologies.
I hated when you and I started off together. You were something I had been forced to stay with, and sensing my disdain probably, you didn’t treat me well either. In everything you were, there was one thing you never were, you never could be, and that was Delhi. Delhi, my aashiq, who I had to abruptly leave, who I couldn’t even bid a final goodbye to. It seemed that life snatched me away from Delhi and told me to settle down with you, and I had no other option.
I hated you Bombay. Everything, right from the humidity in your air from the density of the crowd, I hated everything about you. You made me cry for nights, you made me miss Delhi to such extent that I used to gasp for bits of Delhi while being suffocated by you. I had been utterly disloyal to you. It was always Delhi in my mind whenever you tried to make me yours.
I had no clue when the urge for breathing in the dry Delhi wind began fading away and when the sweaty you became the favourite, or when eyes got used to see the station board written Borivali on it instead of Ghaziabad, and the feeling was of the same excitement, or when Kyani’s took the place of The Big Yellow Door, I have no clue, I don’t know when I started liking the smell of hope mixed with sweat in the Ladies’ compartments of the local train. I did not fall head over heels in love with you. I probably never will. Probably the age is gone, the madness is gone. I have grown to like you, and the reason to a great extent is that we did not have an option to stay away from each other. We probably started coexisting in a peaceful way and it became a habit. But it seems like a good habit. It has given me a lot. I am not sure that I can say the same in reverse. I have not been that generous to you in return I feel.
You had been very harsh to me initially. You made me feel so lonely that I had no other option but to become my own companion. You made me independent. Adaptability I already had. The previous encounters had taught that to me. What you added was the ability to adapt on my own terms. I don’t adapt with everybody anymore. I don’t give myself up. I retain myself, for my own sake. Thanks for that Bombay, I owe this to you.
You gave me people to stand by my side when I did not have anything to offer to them. Not all of them were physically present here, but my stint with you is the sole reason I have them. All the turbulences you made me face have made an armor around my heart, made of people, of experiences, of hardships. It’s not anymore easy to break me down to pieces.
You made me grow as a person Bombay, you were harsh, but you gave me my Marham when and as I needed. You came and held me close as I lay unaware of your presence and healed me from my wounds. I am grateful.
Now about the future of the relationship that we have, I seriously don’t know. You were not my first, you are not my last either. I don’t know till when I can be with you, and who will I go next to, whether we will meet again, and as what, partners or vacation flings, I don’t know. But I know even if we part ways, there will be hope, as a close friend says often, that when and if at all we meet again, we won’t have to start all over, we’ll take it from where we left off.
Until then Bombay, let us wallow in the pool of uncertainty. I shall leave, sooner or later, till I am here, shower me with the love you’ve been holding back for so long.
I know I am not your only one. You have so many of us, my place will be taken before even I leave, some other woman will sit on the window seat of the locals, someone else will crib about the one rupee hike in the autofare a year later, someone else will call you home, and somebody else will crib about the fish stench in your air while walking in the bylanes of Versova village.
It’s okay, I don’t want you to be mine and mine only. Be home to as many people as you can. I will try finding home in the cities I visit next. We will remember each other in PIN codes. We have been nice Bombay, we could have been better, as any other relationship can be. You still aren’t as close to Delhi, and I shall always be in love with that, but I don’t hate you anymore. About love, let’s leave that today, I know it was meant to be a love letter, but I shall write that some other time.
To embraces Bombay, and memories,