“Yes!” This was the first thing that came out of my mouth as soon as I hung up. I immediately rushed to give the good news to my parents. They were elated but also a bit saddened by the fact that the job location was Mumbai. So started the preparations of moving from my hometown Bhavnagar to Mumbai. I was given a long list of instructions, advice and contact numbers of people from our community who were staying in Mumbai. Everyone was worried, but I was not. To me, it felt like heaven, a boy from a small town landing a job in a city like Mumbai.
So began my journey. The company had given me a temporary accommodation for 3 months, which according to the HR person, was “only” 45 minutes from the office. In my hometown, in 45 minutes, I would be able to cover half of it. But then all this was not important. What was important, was that I had an opportunity to start my career as a graphic designer in Mumbai.
I had to get down at Mumbai Central station and take a local train to Bandra station, to reach my temporary accommodation. I had the mobile phone with maps application open in my hands & dreams in my eyes. All set to adopt the new place and become a “Mumbaikar”. As soon as I reached Mumbai Central I started searching the platform to board a train to Bandra. It was around 9 pm. I tried to ask a few people but everyone was running without even giving a look. I could immediately feel the difference in the pace at which the city was moving. It was all filled with energy. Everyone was running, even at 9 pm. I somehow managed to reach the platform, with all the luggage I had with me. The train came and I boarded it. As the next station arrived I found out that I had taken the wrong train and was going in the opposite direction. Even with the train being relatively empty it took some effort to get down with all the luggage. Luckily I didn’t have to climb a bridge to change the platform. So there I was waiting with all my luggage for the next train towards Bandra.
And then came the biggest shock of my life. I saw the train coming and just could not believe the way people were traveling in it. There was no space to get my finger in and still I could see people pushing each other to get inside. I just could not gather the courage to even think of entering the train. I thought probably the previous train might have been cancelled, so let’s wait for the next one. But no change. Even the next train was as crowded as the previous one.
A mental note to self: Trains are very crowded. Have to get used to it. Don’t know how but will have to do it.
I finally decided to take an auto as I was too tired and also had to report the next day at 9:30 am. A good night’s sleep was important. As I came out of the station I could not find an auto there were only taxis. On enquiring people around I came to know a very strange thing, apparently, autos are available in only some part of Mumbai. Very Confusing. Anyways, took a taxi and was staring at the meter. It seemed to run faster than the speed of sound. I was mentally counting the money I had in my wallet. Didn’t want to open the luggage to pay for the taxi. At one point, I also thought that the taxi driver was taking a longer route intentionally. So I checked Google Maps to be sure. But it turned out to be just a suspicion. I finally reached the room allocated to me and after completing the formalities, thought of hitting the bed instantly. Just as I was about to open the room door I got a call from Mummy and Pappa. They were very worried since I had not called them. It was already 11:30 pm, they were relieved to know that I had reached safely.
Finally, completely tired, but filled with excitement about tomorrow I went off to sleep. All in anticipation, tomorrow was going to be my first day at a new job in a new location. Finally, I was going to be part of this vibrant & energetic city which is always on the move. This is not just any city, it is the one where your dreams become reality.
-Article by Navin M