Our flight via Singapore touched down in Mumbai early, before 5 a.m. yesterday. We stepped out of the airport just as the city was waking up to a cacophony of crows and horns. The temperature was already 25 degrees Celsius, and the air thick with humidity, dust, and the distinctive smell of India.
After spending 20 minutes in the line for a pre-paid taxi, we were home before 7 a.m. Breakfast was eaten at Aromas cafe. The grocery shopping was done. Clothes were unpacked. The maid and I had the house cleaned before lunchtime, when the tiffin-wala arrived. After lunch, we sat on our terrace and drank the bottle of champagne that my very thoughtful moustached friend left in the fridge for us, after a short stay at our place while we were away.
It’s all bitter sweet though. Although I can easily slip back into life in Mumbai now, the pain of leaving home and my parents remains as strong as ever. Fun, laughter, togetherness, and childhood memories all mesh together to leave me feeling emotional and unsettled. There are always tears shed in private. I don’t want to be so far away from my parents. But I also recognise that I actually spend more time with them each year now, than what I did when I was living away from home in Melbourne. Months more time. And the quality of time is better.
Although I feel sad, I’ve also returned to Mumbai feeling renewed and inspired to achieve more in India. And I’ve returned with a restored sense of normality. After living for almost six weeks in the absence of attention and curious stares, I’m much less self-conscious about my relationship and myself.
As my husband would say with his favourite new Aussie lingo “no worries”, “it’s alright”.
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