There were three of us crammed into a tiny tiny apartment in Parel. The washing machine was in the kitchen. Fixed hours for water supply meant that we had to decide who showered when. The water tank in the loo could only hold 15 liters, which was barely enough to help with the Indian potty flush.
I had a place to live, thankfully – photo is from in there. Rent was super cheap. The neighborhood was poor but mostly clean and mostly safe. The festival of Holi meant that I’d get smashed with a water balloon or two even if I was on a motorcycle. But if I screamed inside the apartment, the local Shiv Sena crowd would be at the door within 60 seconds demanding to be let in to check with the screaming woman. It was only a cockroach. No, no one hit me. No, I was not injured. While my male roommate was wondering whether to jump out of the 2nd/3rd floor window or wait for my interrogation to end.
Next time, I was allowed to scream only when the windows were closed 😛
I used to sleep on a mattress on the floor. We had bed bugs. Million of them. They would crawl all over me at night and when I would demand that the lights be turned on, we wouldn’t be able to find a single one! I don’t know how I got through those 6-8 months. shudders
But, I was single again! And I had a place to live. I refused to go back to Delhi. The folks visited Bombay once to see how I was doing. Thankfully, during the day, when the bed bugs were away! My Mom was NOT happy with my living conditions. By the end of 2007, I had moved into the only property that my family had ever owned : an apartment in Nerul in New Bombay, which had been bringing in rent. In retrospect, that was a huge hit my parents took to their own savings.
I was emailing B regularly at this point. He was sailing. Sometimes, when I landed a decently paying gig, I would make an ISD call to his ship’s satellite phone. It was murderously expensive but his support was crucial for me to make it through this mess. We weren’t “dating” by any means.
If you asked me now, I would definitely not want to go back to 2007 & “do it all over again”.
When I was in Class 10, my folks told me that if I scored above a certain percentage in my Board Exams, they would buy me a bike. And by “bike”, I meant a “motorcycle”.
I scored. They bought me a Sunny Zip. I took every chance I got, to borrow the motorcycles of my classmates and friends. The first motorcycle I ever rode was the RX-100. I knew how to ride motorcycles of course but I never owned one.
Anyway, 2007 wasn’t about motorcycles. It was about bad boys. One bad boy in particular. I did not ever want to get married again. But I knew I wanted a rebound relationship at least. And I got one. He was a con artist. But I didn’t know that.
He wanted a laptop, so I bought him one – from my hard earned savings – that I was trying to save up by working 16 hours everyday – doing graphic design and branding design for clients from all over the world! His best friend wanted to buy a plane ticket to meet the love of his life? Guess who paid for that plane ticket? Me. I don’t even know if they actually bought a plane ticket.
He was good looking and he was an asshole. At some level, I knew it. I also knew that I had to plumb the depths of self-destruction before I could rebuild and rise again, like the Phoenix – or some such bullshit.
All my friends who met him, told me that I needed to walk away. I was having too much fun. Midnight rides in his Accent. All over Bombay. There was even a “sword-fight” that was used to gain my sympathy – and some more money. What a fool I was. It was glorious!
The fun started to fade a bit when I got a concussion – I still have the scar to show for it – and instead of rushing me to the hospital or to a doctor, I was told to “sleep it off” in a room full of glass jars that had live snakes in them. ( I wish I was exaggerating. ) The concussion was bad enough that I couldn’t form coherent sentences for about 4-6 hours after the injury.
B and I had had a falling out by now. He was furious with me. Who wouldn’t be! I knew I would be coming back to him at some point – but not just yet. I had to make sure I was rid of Bombay and the mess it had gifted me, once and for all.
I had been planning to do a series of small pieces accompanied with photographs from each year of my life and publish them till the final post on my birthday. But due to the SARS-CoV-2 Lockdown, I’m not sure I will be celebrating my birthday anyway. So, I decided that I would start from photographs from around the time I started working. Previous years can be seen here : 1993, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 . Photographs prior to these years will need to be scanned and I do not have access to those albums right now. I might get around to scanning eventually. I turn 40 years old in 2020.