2008, Marine Drive, Bombay.
Almost done with Bombay. Almost.
On my trips back home to Gurgaon, I had met & started dating a cute Jat boy. It was glorious. A lot of partying back in Gurgaon & then he would visit Bombay & there was a LOT of partying there too. US Club, fauji alcohol, cheap & cheerful. A decadent trip to Goa, which I paid for – even with this new Jat boy. A pattern was emerging.
I was still in touch with the con artist in Bombay. He still “needed” money. Everyone had met each other. Bombay ex-boyfriend, Gurgaon boyfriend, another friend who wanted to be a boyfriend. It was getting to be an increasingly complicated soup & I was enjoying it thoroughly.
I was getting by financially because I didn’t have to pay rent – I was living at my folks’ apartment in Nerul – graphic & branding design work was picking up & some big Indian brands had hired me. I continued to bust my ass, working during the day & partying till the early hours of the morning.
A lot of alcohol & cigarettes but no drugs thank my lucky stars because if someone had offered, I would not have said no.
My ex-husband & I had gone out for drinks with our group of friends. His new wife wasn’t happy about it. They had married scarcely 3 months after our divorce had been finalized. I was happy for them – they have two extremely adorable kids but we are not in touch anymore today. Social media provides enough avenues to check on exes – more than enough if you ask me.
Through all of this, my parents knew what I was doing – professionally & personally. My Mom was mostly horrified. I would confide in my Dad & the softened gist would get relayed to my Mom via him. I couldn’t tell them everything when I was in it, but eventually, I told them. How much money I had spent on boyfriends, how much I was smoking & drinking, why B & I had had a falling out, etc. Everything. I’m fucking LUCKY. We’ve had & continue to have our differences but I wouldn’t be here without their support.
This is me, working on a logo design assignment, sitting in the balcony of my parents’ apartment. I had finally left Bombay.
I was feeling defeated and ready to move on from Bombay. I had no energy to pick myself up anymore. I made a distressed phone call to my Dad. I asked him to come get me. Now. I told him that I needed help. That I couldn’t do this anymore.
Asking for help has always been a problem for me. So, it must have been bewildering for my Dad to receive that phone call. He knew I was in trouble.
There was an important award ceremony that he was supposed to be part of as a Chief Guest – a posthumous bravery award to the widow of an Army officer who had died in my Dad’s arms during combat. It was a big deal. And he chose to come get me from Bombay instead.
I think within a week of that phone call, I was home. I was safe.
I had zero boyfriends. But I had chai – I don’t even drink chai but when your Mom makes it for you, you fucking drink it.
In desperation, sometimes, I used to hide in the bathroom, turn on the strong & loud exhaust fan & smoke. Mostly, 4-5 times a week, I went to Galleria to get a coffee & smoke in peace. My cute Jat boy ex hung out with me sometimes. We weren’t dating anymore but we had common friends & some of them helped me get out of my self-destructive sadness. And I needed a familiar drinking buddy.
And then, of course, I had to find B again. After the falling out, he had changed his phone number. But because he was a childhood family friend, there were many people I could call to get that information. I had to find a way to meet him face to face.
My parents had saved me in one way and I needed to find out if he could save me in another.
In the above black and white photo : I had lost this tooth in a cycling accident when I was in Class 9 or 10. A cap had been affixed by a fauji dentist, which ran its course till 2008, which is when it had become too blue to be ignored. Cue dentist appointment. However, I had to live with the stump of my tooth like this for at least 2-3 days before the cap would be ready. Instead of hiding at my parents home, I decided to party. Because really, who cares. I went out for drinks to bars with friends and had fun scaring the bejeezus out of bartenders and others around me. Fun times.
I had forgotten all about the time I got my nose pierced! I got this done somewhere in GK, if I recall correctly. In the above photographs, I’m sitting with my sister and her friends at what used to be the original Turquoise Cottage at Adhchini.
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, 2007, 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.