I’ve changed my mind about cities, you know. In the past, in my head, they were always female. Big old bossy aunts, best friends, the whore, the wife, and so on. But more recently, I’ve been thinking of myself as a woman in love with two men. One’s the new boyfriend, charming, sexy, gives you lots of space. One’s the old boyfriend, someone you left a while ago, but who has (like real life boyfriends NEVER do) changed drastically in the four years since you were last together and now, perhaps, offers a more permanent relationship. In my case, the new boyfriend: Bombay, and the old is, of course, Delhi.
It seems to me most of my moves are made on impulses. I have a strong instinct for survival, and when a city gets too much, when you feel like all your days are just blending into each other, then it’s time for a change. Arthur Conan Doyle said, “A change is as good as a rest.” and it’s true. It is. And so, dear, dear, beloved Bombay, I’m leaving you to go back to Delhi for a bit. I’m torn in a way I wasn’t when I left Delhi the first time. The thing is I LOVE Bombay. If your hometown is actually your hearttown, then Bombay is most definitely that. But, of late, I’ve been noticing the winds of change in Delhi. It’s vibrant and exciting, and fills me with hope, something I’ve been lacking recently. Most of my close friends are there now, in Bombay, like Dubai airport, people come and go so fast that it’s hard to keep track. Almost all of the gang I know here will be gone shortly, maybe within the year. And Delhi is about as far as Colaba, if you live in the suburbs.
This is my friend’s column on the subject. In it, he references a post I did on when JC and I ended things, how I said, “I have good friends, a city I absolutely love” and wonders how I could go back on that so easily. Easily? It was hard. It was impulse for THIS trip, yes, but for the past few months, whenever people ask me why I don’t come back to Delhi, finding an answer has been tougher and tougher. Why don’t I come back to Delhi? Rents are cheaper, writers and publishers thrive there, I miss winter, I miss culture, I miss the roads and the people, I miss my parents (can I say that? Do I sound like a child?).
So, that’s why the long silence on this blog. On the recent trip to Delhi, I made my swift decision and instantly fell into flat hunting. Relocating is tough and stressful. I found a sweet little annexe (annex-ee for Delhi brokers) in a nice neighbourhood, I informed my (delighted) friends there, informed my (not so delighted) friends here and ta-dah, all set and ready to go. The most unhappy person, I suspect, will be my cat, who was unceremoniously stuffed into his carrier and taken to the vet today (you can’t fly an animal without a vaccination certificate) and who will have to spend a day or two at my mother’s house (in my room, co habiting with the dog) while I set up our new house.
Does this have anything to do with your break up, I hear you asking. Well.. maybe. But not as much as you might imagine. It’s true I’d like a little break from the emotional fatigue I’ve been experiencing recently. I’d like a whole new place where I can just chill, without constant reminders of my doomed relationship. But it’s also something I’ve been thinking about for a while, even when I was in a relationship. You know what it’s like to be suddenly single? It’s like—okay, so I was in Jodhpur, and I hear from him, and we’re talking about security deposits and so on, and without any warning, I started to weep. Silently, holding the phone to my ear, crying with my eyes wide open. I hung up and went into the shower, shaking a little, from the force of my sobs. I do not want to be unhappy, no one wants to be unhappy. Even now, from a distance, with a few well aimed words, he can get right under my skin. I think it’s best that I put some distance between us. (How did we come to this, my one time love?)
So. Yes. Delhi, we meet again.