Lost In A Metro
Hyundai recently released an advertisement in which, a woman returning home from work takes the highway exit instead of dutifully following the directions displayed by her GPS. At this point a male voice tells us that, ‘this place; it’s where you get lost to discover yourself’. I am neither endorsing Hyundai, nor that advertisement, but I shall dwell on that statement about getting lost and finding yourself.
One Saturday morning after an appointment with Senior Counsel (who had decided to help me find an internship in Mumbai; he was a very kind man and a genuine one at that!) I realised I had nothing else planned on my itinerary. I set out armed with a handbag – containing an umbrella, a bottle of water and a book I was reading at that time – and ventured into hitherto unchartered (by me) territories in South Mumbai. What lay ahead was a day of exploration, discoveries, familiarisation and some much-needed reflection and self-realisation.
I have mentioned this previously and I shall say it again, I hate it when thing do not go according to plan. I sometimes make plans to make plans. However, staying in Mumbai was a constant test of that. First of all, how do you make plans about going around a place you know absolutely nothing about? Then, every plan I made with people seemed to fall apart. Generally, my natural response to such circumstances would have been to sit in my room and sulk, but something about Mumbai filled me with a spirit of adventure and I took these setbacks as challenges and faced them with equal amounts of curiosity and unsubduable will. Here I was, alone in a new city and lots of places and things to explore. I decided that I would not let this opportunity pass me by.
That day, as I ventured out, I spent almost an equal amount of time admiring the architecture of the area and, considering the reasons why I was enjoying myself more than I would have done in a planned tour around the city. That was when I realised that, it is only when we let go of our plans and are willing to get lost that we stand a chance to let the world around us, show itself to us. All my life, I have had a “Plan’ that would fall into place, from the first to the nth Step and if ever something did not fall into place I had contingencies planned, either way ahead, or as soon as the situation presents itself. I even went to the heights of giving myself two or three options in my ‘Plans’, in order to ‘spontaneously’ pick one of them!
It took getting lost amongst the tall, gothic structures towering above me to realise that the most beautiful turns and discoveries in life happen when we just let nature take its course. By constantly planning every step along the way, I would have closed myself to the prospect of discovering something breathtakingly beautiful. I would have been too busy scratching off the long Task-List I would have set for myself, to fully take in the ambience of the place.
When I started off, I had expected this to be discomfiting, but what I felt was an inexplicable feeling of being immersed in the history that surrounded me. Walking around the Bombay High Court, The Asiatic Society, The RBI building, The Grand Hotel, The Bombay Port Trust Area, a part of me was transported back in time to an era when these structures had been built.
Later that evening, I set out to walk across Colaba Causeway and taste some street food, doughnuts and chocolates. Over the next couple of weeks, South Mumbai became increasingly familiar and I knew it like the back of my hand. I came to think of this city as my own and was rather saddened by the prospect of having to leave it, but if Mumbai had taught me anything at all, it was to get out of my comfort zone, to remain open to change and to allow yourself to experience new things!