Mumbai changes life, often like its train network, from slow track to fast track. In Mumbai, you learn how to make numerous folds of the MidDay newspaper so that it fits well in your pocket. In Mumbai, you learn that there are slow and fast ways to reach a particular destination, it is not luck but sheer choices you make in your journey which varies the timing. These are not anecdotes from any best selling books, they are my own realisation, living in almost four years in Mumbai.

Victoria Terminus, VT station, as it is popularly abbreviated – That is probably the first thing comes to one’s mind when we picture Mumbai. But I landed in Kurla, Lokmanya tilak ternimus ( LTT), another well known abbreviated station name. I started off the holy journey of my professional career from Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala – for the geography purists ), with a software major of India, back in May, 2005, just about a decade ago. Ideally, I can happily sing my own desi version of  Bryan Adam’s ‘Summer of 2005’ – ‘When I look back now, summer seems to last forever’, but the summer of Kerala just lasted over a month, and here I was, boarded on the train to Mumbai, to join the head office of the company. Mumbai was not an obvious choice I would say, as we weren’t given much of a choice of location those days – Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai. It was just a stroke of luck, a lottery which decided where to land post completing our month long training stint of in Kerala. Most of my journey was engrossed with discussion with the Mumbai folks about the sky high rents, wonder ways to to secure the most coveted thing in Mumbai ( which is an apartment to live), the social life, night life, food one should must try or the ones to be avoided and so on – You know, the obvious set of questions one would wonder before landing up in a city.

Missed something in the list, I was also given a detailed hour long knowledge session about the train network in Mumbai – Western Line, Central Line, Harbour Line and so on. The Mumbai folks, alas, did not manage to get their home city and tried almost every possible ways to ‘swap’ location if possible with somebody who was designated forMumbai; goes without saying, the corporate folks insisted in breaking the so called comfort zone, by throwing people to helter-skelter locations!!). Well for me, once I landed up in LTT, managed to grab those yellow taxis to ported off to the office arranged hotels, around Andheri ( Felt so euphoric, as I did reckon that the popular ‘Super Hit Muqabla’ TV show also had ‘Andheri’ in their mailing, wow, I was close mate !!).

Office gave us the five days plus a weekend before you could find out own respective place to live, and of course, the work location was decided right at the first day – Mine was in posh South Mumbai , Lower Parel, by the station on the Western line, but by location, it was a literal mile from Worli ( quite a fame name these days, all thanks to the Worli Bandra sea link; but trust me for me those days, it was the sea, the sea face rather, which used to make up my late evening post a hard day). By a week, all office formalities were over, I was now the part of Mumbai team of the software major – But where did I live, hey, hello. Well, I would let out a quick secret story here. Post the last day of induction at the new office, which was a Friday, the celebration of our new city life went so uber high, that I lost track of time. Once the party was over, I realised four things, (first) I’ve reached the Lower Parel station after the last train to Andheri had called it a day, (second) my wallet says there isn’t enough cash to hire taxi to the hotel, (third) my cell phone has also called it a day hence not a chance of me calling any of my newly formed acquaintances for help and finally ( fourth) there was still a day before my ATM card could be functional – Hence, the good old way, tuck the wallet and the mobile real deep inside the formal attire, and sleep baby sleep, on the benches of the royal Lower Parel station platform no 1. Trust me, the sleep was one of the blissful ones I ever had.

Good morning, well, early five I rose and o, God save the ‘Sulabh Shauchalaya’, managed to freshen myself up, recharged my mobile phone from the nearest ‘dear’ mobile shop, recharged myself with a Vada Pav and cutting masala chai ( a hot cup of cardamom spiced tea) and here I was – Mission home – I need an apartment right today, right here in Lower Parel. The entourage of the day could probably make up an entire novel, but the nutshell or the moral of the day would be, Mumbai has probably the best network of real estate brokers or ‘bhau’s/bhai’s’ ; so by late evening I was standing in my new home, rent and advance decided ( brokerage has been paid, all thanks to my ATM card which miraculously started working post 1200 at noon). It was just a bedroom, a space earmarked to be used as kitchen and two separate compartments called bathroom and toilet (the broker dude, probably the best salesman I’d ever met till date mentioned it as 1 RK, stands for One room plus kitchen). Surprise element was, a new dude turned up and he readily accepted the possibility of sharing the space with me – Done deal. My brokerage halved, rent shared and so was the deposit. I was, well, more than euphoric. To celebrate and commemorate the occasion, our broker link man dialled, and we had the first treat in our new room ‘ Ek Cutting Chai Paani Kaam’ – of course, a cup of tea for each of us – And that’s the #StartANewLife for me. Cheers to Mumbai.

This post is for #StartANewLife campaign by Housing. Watch their new advertisement below. 

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