Mumbai is a city of dreams.
I'm 21 years old, fresh out of film school. Like everyone who studies film in India, I decided to make the move to Bombay. So here I am in the city of dreams, to realise mine. My (movie) dream is simple – live a decent life, but make larger than life, amazing movies. I hope I get there. I think my job here at 101 India, my first job (!), is a great place to start.
In the city of dreams, I dream of you
I live alone, but I'm not lonely here. Bombay, man. It's alive. It just doesn't let me be alone. I have a few old friends, and lots of new ones. They help me pass my time through the week. And when the weekend's here, I... well, I sleep. Come on! I need some downtime. I'm small town.
With all the new beginnings, from moving to a new city, to landing a new job, to meeting strange and interesting people at work, I sort of had a new romantic beginning of my own.
We started slowly. “Just friends, man,” I'd tell myself, “Shut the hell up.” But much as I would deny it, I knew, my friends knew – we weren't 'just' friends. We'd spend hours together after work, we'd spend sleepless nights just talking, sometimes drinking, always, always smoking. Yes, of course, with a lot of making out. As good as Bombay was to me, it was in him that I found 'home'.
From being a starry-eyed, independent, working woman who had huge dreams, I became a hopeless romantic who wanted nothing more than just going home to my new found love. Was it love? It felt like it. I was on top of the world – a new world, a whole new world. A dazzling place I never knew... no one to tell us no... or where to go...I'll stop.
Someone found a way to my heart. Image credit: Yash Bandi
I woke up excited every day. I had butterflies in my stomach all day long. I smiled like an idiot, listened to sappy romantic tunes, even saw the good in people I didn't really like. I was happy. I wanted to stay happy. And that's when things started to change. They started to get unhealthy. Toxic, almost. I couldn't bear the fact of not going home to him. Where I had started as an independent woman in this new city, I became someone who had to be taken care of. I became someone who wanted to cuddle and sleep at night and start every morning with a "have a good day" kiss. I became someone I never thought I could be. My life was one long routine of going to work, then spending the rest of my day with him. He made me feel what I thought I was incapable of feeling. I would romanticize every little thing we did together. It was as if I was in a really good chick flick. He'd pick me up and drop me home, he'd get me food when I was sick, he always knew when to get my favourite bottle of wine home, he would celebrate the tiniest of my achievements (“you woke up on time today” kiss), he'd drive us around aimlessly, while we listened to music that moved us.
It was perfect. He was perfect. And I felt perfect with him.
He became the single most important thing of my life. As soon as the honeymoon phase got over, I thought I would get bored of him, like I always do with every other guy I have been involved with. But to my surprise, it just kept getting stronger and deeper. But then the people around me started to see a change in my behaviour. I could see it too. I'd be out drinking with my friends, but all I would think of was him. “God, I need to leave now and see him.” The things I'd do, the excuses I made to meet him, to simply hear him say “hello”...
Room without a beau
My life started to lose its individuality. I couldn't help myself. It came to the point that I'd just curl up and sulk if I couldn't meet him. I have always believed I don't need anyone to be happy. Happiness shouldn't be dependent on something that I might lose in a blink of an eye. But here I was, dependant. Addicted. I was slowly, and noticeably, going down the path of depression. I am not claiming to be depressed, I am probably not even close to it. But the boy I liked, the one I fell for, he was actually diagnosed with clinical depression. I took 'responsibility' for him, thinking I could make him happy. Without realizing that instead I started to become sadder.
I lost interest in talking to people. I'd get lost walking and end up in the middle of nowhere. My mind would be burdened with over thinking. So much so that I considered chanting to find some 'inner peace'.
He saw what was happening to me. He saw how 'addicted' I was to him, and how this was making me feel. He started maintaining his distance, pushing me away. I couldn't take it. It wasn't like an ordinary break up. This was...death. I was dying, every day. Save for a few laughs at work, I was a mess. I like to think of myself as a strong person, emotionally at least. But I was a wreck.
Till, slowly, I wasn't. Time heals all wounds, and it had started to put me back on track. Where I would plan my daily activities according to when I would get time to meet him, I started taking some time out and focusing on the things that I could do alone.
I have started binging on TV shows again. Movie marathons keep me up all night, these days. My dinner for two is a medium pizza, thin crust. I've even started reading again. My close friends, who were with me through all of this, are now much closer to my heart. I now had the long road ahead with myself.
But Mumbai is the city of dreams. And I haven’t stopped dreaming.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of 101India.com.
By Shubhika Sharma
Photographs by Shubhika Sharma