Surprisingly, I felt completely at home in Mumbai. Considering I hadn’t visited the city in over a decade and had only vague memories of the same, weirdly enough it all felt reassuringly familiar when I got off the plane. I can’t quite put my finger on why.
Mumbai is a restless city. It crackles with an infectious energy. I found it extremely uplifting just to walk the streets and watch people hurry about their business. The incessant rain didn’t depress me one bit, it only added to the atmosphere. It’s the only city where I have felt both completely at peace and quietly excited at the same time.
It was an extremely satisfying two days in the city. I stayed with Gaurav and Deepak in Mulund, watched Sarkar Raj with them and then met up with Shublina, Ali, Akash and Aritri at Shublina’s house in Thane the next day. My friends from IMT now don new faces. They are no longer mildly eccentric students but working professionals, doing their bit for the Indian GDP. They are consultants, business development managers and area sales managers, working tirelessly for their organizations. They worry about the rent, the price of petrol and professional advancement. I felt slightly in awe of them. With almost a month to go before I joined work I felt like I was still sucking my thumb in an incubator, shielded from the worries of the real world.
The hours flew by. We laughed, shared jokes and relived our memories of IMT. The rains did nothing to diminish the warmth of the gathering. Sitting later in a cake shop and frantically picking at each others cake and ice cream concoctions we were once again IMT’ians living in a make believe world of work and worry. At the back of our minds we were confident that this messy work business would end soon and that we’d all be back in IMT in a couple of months.
We left in the pouring rain; I was already late for my flight back to Bangalore. We scrambled onto the wrong train and went back to Thane instead of heading towards the airport. We caught the right train after that, grinning in spite of the crushing crowd. As one of them remarked wryly “I don’t know if it’s my sweat that’s running down my face or someone else’s.”
I was sorry to leave Mumbai. I have no idea when I’ll see the guys who made my world in IMT again. There’s an emptiness in my life without them. I’d give anything to go back to college and relive my two years as an MBA.
Its twenty one days to employment.