February 8, 2008

Reporting live from Mumbai

Hi, this is Swapna, reporting the weather conditions live from Mumbai. It’s been 1.5 months now since we shifted back to India from US. I have been getting mails from my friends asking about my whereabouts, so I thought I will write a post and update everyone at once.

Firstly, the Mumbai weather has changed drastically over the past few days. We had the temperature dropping to 8 degrees this time. Never in my entire life in Mumbai (I could have written, “Never in my X number of years in Mumbai”, but that would mean divulging my age.) have I seen the temperature drop below 10degrees. Two weeks back, the Times reported that Mumbai had experienced the lowest temperature in 42 years. I felt cold after reading the news. After a week, it dropped even further. I leave for work at sharp 7.15 am and faced the full brunt of the cold. I see the building security guards warming their hands over a small fire, and every morning I feel jealous of them. How I wish I could join them and sit feeling the warmth, instead I would bravely rush off to face the cold. The worst part of the day was the rickshaw ride to the station. As the rickshaw zooms off at full speed, I would start shivering and pull my sweater close to my body.
Since the past 4-5 days, there has been a sudden change in the weather. The cold weather has suddenly turned hot, forcing us to turn on the fans at night.

US to India transition: The transition went off pretty smoothly. Luckily, P and I didn’t suffer from jet lag this time. He had to resume work immediately, while I spent the whole of January enjoying the last few days of my 1.5 years vacation. I relaxed, slept a lot, shopped for our house, cleaned it, and started cooking. I managed to secure a good job at a company and started working from 1st Feb. At first, the idea of going to work on a daily basis seemed daunting. I would be working after a long gap of 1.5 years. I was a bit apprehensive about the whole ‘leaving home early in the morning and rushing off to work’ process, but after 4-5 days I got used to it. Of course, all the ‘aaram’ I did in US has boomeranged back at me. My office hours are 8.30-5 and it takes 1 hour to commute to office. I get up at 5.30AM (yawn), get ready, make chapattis, and rush off to work. I sleep at sharp 11pm. I shout at P if he switches on the TV after that. We both have converted from night owls to morning persons.

Do I miss US?: Definitely. But not so much as I had thought I would. I was confident that I would crib endlessly about the pollution, the traffic jams, the hectic travel; but I accepted certain facts and moved on. I miss all my close friends back in Louisville. Other thoughts come to my mind very subtly and unexpectedly:
#I think of US when I open my wallet and see dollars and cents mingling with rupees.
#I miss ‘Coldstone Creamery’ when I buy cakes or ice cream here.
#I miss our Mitsubishi Lancer when I see any black car zooming on the road.

How does it feel to be back home?: Simply superb! It feels great to be back among family and friends, or to attend weddings and poojas, or to eat all the junk food that I terribly missed in US. Most of all, it feels great to stay in the house that we missed the last one year. We both feel belonged here, unlike feeling like a guest in US.
In the past 1.5 months, we attended a superb concert by Ustaad Zakir Hussain, saw Tare Zameen Par, and visited the Vasai fort and beach. I will post the reviews soon. I terribly miss posting on Dreams come true and Swad. I should be getting Internet connection in the next week, so stay tuned for more news from Amchi Mumbai!