Saturday, 5th September 2015, a month and 2 days have passed since I first walked in the office of Grassroutes Journeys. It has been a good one. This morning I quietly escaped from the things that have been keeping me busy just to catch up with my books and the blog I was supposed to publish 5 days back.

I fumble with the keys and the lock as usual and open the door to my office. This place has been home since I came to Bombay, I find peace here. I feel free here. Being a Saturday morning, it is sacredly empty. I sit in my chair and look out my window to find the familiar sight of the moss covered wall of an abandoned house. A dainty creeper hangs on the wall, trying to find its ground, dangling wildly in the wind; a purple bell shaped flower has bloomed this morning. I rummage through thoughts that crowd my mind and the first memory of Bombay catches up with me. That was the morning I first encountered a panic attack.

“Panic attack is a sudden onset of intense apprehension, fear or terror that occurs without apparent cause…” this is how psychologists define it.

“Take a deep breath…think about a happy place…now imagine yourself there and blah blah blah…” went Akhil, while Rakshita stood next to me, hugging me now and then just to ensure, I don’t flip. I was on a train from Udaipur to Bombay with few friends. The train blared through the beautiful landscape covered by various shades of green, backwaters and the hills made it more picturesque, I knew Bombay was approaching. I was the proverbial lost sheep. My face turned pale, however, the crazy idea of going to the beach that very day, simmered me down but I never thought I  was so close to finding my happy place.

Bandstand as it turned out, was not exactly a beach, but that’s alright, after all that was the first time in my life I saw the ocean and you bet I loved it. I was amazed by the magnitude of wonder God had placed all around us. Excitedly, I hopped from one spot to another, taking in the beauty and the next moment…I landed on my butt and realized my palm was bleeding. What a welcome! I wish life was as simple as staring at the sea and only as hard as falling on your butt. The thought of a whole new life, put me in a quandary. Happily settled in the house which will be my home for the next one year, I heaved a sigh of relief and gladly gobbled the delicious chicken and rice that my landlady cooked for dinner. Only one and a half days later I realized, you can’t really eat that same thing for 5 consecutive meals. Also, soon enough I witnessed her noisy avatar and her 7 year old son, with similar acquired traits. I heard peace screaming for mercy that day and he looked funny!!!

That was a month ago, I have adapted to the life here. I have found the most amazing people in the organization. I have always believed “people are the city” so Bombay isn’t that bad you see. The tall buildings have more than once left me gasping for air. I miss Delhi, I have spent almost half my life there, that’s my city. We have had a long-term love affair. But, interestingly, in the last one month, I think I am falling for Bombay. I have a feeling that I always belonged here.

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