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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Life: An Ode To Mumbai!



It always hurts to part ways or say goodbye to someone or something dear and near. Let it be coming away from home; be it getting a farewell from a workplace; be it going far off from the family or be it saying goodbye to a city where you have spent the prime of your career. This is universal human behavior and you are bound to accumulate a heavy feeling in the centre of your heart when you part ways with your nearest and dearest ones in familiar-for-years surroundings or neighborhood or the village or the town or the city.

I have known Mumbai for more than twenty five years. I came to this wonderful city as an eager young man wanting to experience and inculcate everything the city stands for or is known to stand for and wanting to try out new and newer things in life and in work. When I was transferred from a quiet workplace in the North Eastern city of Guwahati to the far off Western coast of India, to the city of Mumbai I thanked my stars or rather the Government of India for the rare opportunity.

Call it the spirit of Mumbai or the never-say-die attitude of Mumbaikars I immediately got caught in web of positive energy. I witnessed the sparkling towers in the posh areas and also the sprawling slums all around the city and despite the striking contrasts I found the inhabitants in both ends equally spirited and energetic. The golden realization came to me that I had come to a city with a tremendous work culture, and today I heartily confirm that Mumbai has the best work culture in the country, if not possibly crossing the international border too. Thanks to that spirit it had been wonderful working with people always so responsive, supportive and inventive. I did not have the kind of family life we have been used to in Assam, but here you just love people busy as ever with their struggle to work better and live better and never bothering or disturbing you with the kind of ‘nosing around’ you know or gossiping or staring at you for your looks or attire. As has been said often the city never sleeps—even at 2 in the morning you would find people eating and enjoying. Energized by the lively atmosphere I could do a lot of things apart from my office work that continues to give me a sense of fulfillment and my wife Ragini was able to pursue a successful career in vocal music supported by cherished Gurus and  co-artistes who have been exemplary in their modesty.

I also have witnessed the sufferings the city has endured over the years. The blood-curdling riots of 1992-3 and the horrendous serial bomb blasts of 1993 that made Mumbai a terror target forever and more blasts followed at chillingly regular intervals. The deluge of 2005 when a rare cloudburst flooded the city—trapping, sweeping away and killing so many. The serial blasts in local trains of 2006 and the Mumbai Terror Attack of 2008. Mumbai has been suffering a lot, but has never given up its celebrated approach to life. As a normal Mumbaikar I lived through all these sufferings and stood by the spirit the city called Mumbai emanates.

Now, there is a change of my workplace. Naturally, there is that heavy feeling having to leave that tremendous work atmosphere behind. However, we are happy that we are not severing our link with Mumbai and Maharashtra for the time being. Certain people in certain capacities do not like me working in this city anymore, but they cannot stop me from continuing with Mumbai in my personal life. But I am happy that all of my dearest friends, colleagues and teammates who have always supported and encouraged me in my work are still with me personally and they will be an integral part of my personal life as long I live.

I am also happy that after long years I, as an Assamese, will soon be back in my own North East region. I hope I can continue with that great work culture that I have imbibed so well in Mumbai in my future workplace—to be specific, Shillong. A hill station, Shillong is a beautiful city with a cool climate, the capital of the state of Meghalaya and one of the most attractive tourist spots of the North East. The city is also called ‘The Scotland of the East’. I am also happy that in these pages my article ‘The North East India Resonates’ is presently the most widely read one nearing 15000 hits! See you there! Over and out for now!
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