Dear Bombay

Context: I’m going to be in New York for the next 3 months. I wrote this on the flight on the way here. A lot has happened since, but for now I’m dead tired, and I really should sleep so I can get to work tomorrow morning.


Dear Bombay,

I’m leaving you for three months now and this is the longest I’ve ever been away from you. It’s true, that one must explore and not stagnate, but you’re just so damn convenient and comfortable. Besides, you’re the only city I’ve known. As I grow older I find it harder to leave your comfort, which is why I must go now. I know you understand. After all, you will be able to comprehend much more than I can imagine, being a city as big as you are. I will miss you. I will miss your people, I will miss their attitudes, I will miss your weather. Oh, how I’ll miss those rainy days. You shouldn’t miss me, you have far greater things to worry about. Or maybe you will, who knows.

There’s a map on the screen in front of my seat. The white outline of the plane moves further from the dot labeled “Mumbai” with every word I type, at almost 1000 kilometers per hour. 83% the speed of sound, the pilot says. I never liked the name Mumbai much. You will always be Bombay to me. I’m flying over Karachi right now. What I want you to know is that this is not about you, this is about me. I’ll come back different, and you’ll be just the same. Who knows, I might even like New York more. No, that cannot happen in three months, but this is only the beginning. You see, I can only live about 50 more years. In another 6 or 7, my body won’t be able to do all that it can now. This is a lot of time in my opinion. Whether you think this much time is enough depends entirely on what you think you need to do in this much time. I don’t think I need to do as much as most others. but I still have a lot to do. And to do all these things, I can’t sit around in one place. Take this letter for example; it would never be written if I was sleeping under your warm blanket tonight. Take all those songs I wrote in the recent past; they wouldn’t have been born if you weren’t at least an arm’s length away. And as much as I complain about Thane, I know that it helped me find me. And it’s also true that you would rejoice with an entire day of rainfall if you knew how much of you I found inside me.

Nobody’s as big a part of me Bombay, nobody. You’re etched under my skin, you’re a part of my heart, you’re deeper in my head than I know. If I really think about it, at the times that I’m happiest I’m always doing or seeing or feeling something that has to do with you, something that has to do with something we did when I was young, or something that has to do with what I see when I look at you. That may not have made sense to a lot of people, but I know you understand.

I have to find more of me now, I have to make more of me. I also have to make a lot of some thing that is more than me. I have to make , Bombay, I need to create. Whether it’s my own future or yours or whole other worlds. It’s all that really matters right now. What I find and what I create. I hope you know what it feels like.

And so I must go. I’ll always come back, you know. Of course you know. You’re something like the first girl I ever fell in love with, I’ll always have a place in my heart for you. You’re home. In the end we both know that I’m going to come back to you. And we always know where I can come to find myself for every time that I lose myself out there. Here’s to new things, new places and new people. Here’s to new situations, new sights, and new sounds. Here’s to Novelty. Here’s to me.

I’ll be back, 86 days from now, and oh, the stories I’ll have to tell. I know this will have its ups and downs but lets just hope that things don’t get too bad. I don’t know what I want, but can I tell you a secret? I don’t think anybody does. And the ones that think they know exactly what they want don’t even know what’s out there. The day they find out, they’ll be shocked my old friend, they’ll be awe struck. It’s very easy writing a letter to you, you know. It feels almost like I’m actually writing to a friend I’ve known for all my life. Anyway, I should probably get some sleep now. This whole thing with time zones and indirect flights isn’t easy to get the hang of, so I don’t know how much sleep I’ll be able to get. Wish me luck.

Good night.


There’s a sense of simplicity I get after being out of the routine of my life for a while. Absolute simplicity. I feel like I know the answers to all your questions, and they can all be answered in under a minute each. I know what’s right and what’s wrong, and what’s neither of the two and really doesn’t matter. And the distinction is really easy to make. I know what I’m doing wrong. I know how to save our environment and just how much we’re going to fuck it up before we manage to do that. I know which direction our society should be heading in and what we need to do now to start getting there. I know what’s inevitable. Well, I wouldn’t use the word ‘inevitable’ but I know what’s very, very likely to happen. I know why you’re unhappy and dissatisfied and anxious and angry, and yes, I’m talking about you specifically.

Why doesn’t everyone see this simplicity? Because everyone over-complicates things by adding unnecessary variables in the equation. People like to complicate things to get the answers they need to justify their their wants and beliefs, to help them be them . Hitting a contradiction sooner or later is inevitable very, very likely. You probably need to forget your place in it all for a while and look at things from as far away as possible to feel what I feel. I went away and I met myself there. I met myself after quite a while. I don’t mean that in the way you look at yourself in a mirror, I saw who I really was, what I really believe, what parts of me I’m afraid to let surface.

In spite of everything I’ve said here I know that this feeling is transient. I know that I could be wrong, and about something or the other, I will be. But at this moment, I’ve got more of it right than you. The question really worth asking is, where does go from here?

The answers, I could tell you. But I really don’t believe they should be sold as answers to anything. To be completely honest, I know that they’re not the answers good enough to stand the test of time. I might share some of them with you over time as thoughts and nothing more, because that’s what they really are. And this is just a feeling. It’ll be gone soon enough.


Currently Listening
Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd
By Lynyrd Skynyrd
Free Bird

Update from my life: I’m leaving for hampi on Saturday. I don’t think I’ve been on this kind of a high for as long as I’ve been working, which is wrong in so many ways that I’m not going to elaborate on it. This one week of freedom is all I get after 7 months of working. Slavery, this is. But then it isn’t really, because I can leave whenever I want. I’ll be moving to Thane the week after that, that’ll make it even harder to leave this job but at least I’ll have as much free time on my hands as I want.

So this Saturday, I’ll be going to hampi. And where I’ll go from there I don’t really know. How long I’ll be there, I don’t know. It’s this sense of freedom that I really love. It resonates within my being. If you don’t know me then I can tell you that freedom is one of my most fundamental values. I need to have a sense of absolute freedom to be truly happy. So that’s what this vacation will be about, perfect unadultrated freedom. Imprisoned within the time span of 9 days.

I will leave for Hampi this saturday and you won’t hear anything from me for a while after that. Not that you’d expect to, but if you’re lucky I’ll end up writing a bit there and then I can post it here when I get back.

“I’m as free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot change.
I’m the bird you cannot change.
And this bird you cannot change.
Lord knows I can’t change.
Lord help me I can’t change.
Lord, I can’t change.
Won’t you fly, free bird?”
*insane 4 minute solo

The blank page / To creativity!

Now that I travel 4 hours a day to and from work I’m left with almost no time for anything else. I try sometimes, to put this time to good use. Apart from having books to read and music to listen to, I bought a notebook to write stuff in. This notebook lay in my bag untouched for almost a month (one time I opened it, stared at the first page for a while and put it back in my bag) until finally, I wrote this:-

The blank page / To creativity! (6/10/09)

Does the blank page scare you? The blank page intimidates me. It stresses me out. It makes me feel like shutting the book and tossing the pencil. The blank page is unearthly. It’s pure, plain, empty, and its emptiness is contagious. It seeps into my mind and reduces all thought to void.

It seems unconquerable. To add to a blank page, to create out of nothing, impossible. A mountain insurmountable. I look at it, admire its beauty, admire those with the courage and skill to conquer it and then turn away.

But sometimes… Sometimes creativity once believed to be dead rises from its grave and roars a deafening roar from the back of my head. Then, with one sentence, with one word, as easily as life can be ended with a piercing bullet, the blank page is conquered. And after that one brave word follow thousands more, millions more. They sing, they dance, they play. They give birth to stories of hope and despair, take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotion, and spread the light of thought in this universe of infinity. They embrace you, inspire you, and share your loneliness with you.

As witness to this event, these words will testify. To remind me that blank pages can be conquered, that they can be even more beautiful when filled, and each individual is gifted with his own creativity which never dies. Creativity which will conquer books, page by page, word by word.