My feelings after coming back from Indonesia, where so much different. I would've liked to have stayed longer but on the other hand I was content to go back to Poland for a while. I was dragged back here forcefully because of visa regulations. Otherwise I don't think I would've come back home until I totally ran out of cash. The last 2 months were the time when I felt I got hold of things there and could face the everyday reality of life in India.
I'm listening to hindi music all the time (thanks Nihal for your collection!), which I've never done while being in India. I'm watching pictures I've taken. They remind me of places I've been to and people I've met. I've watched Slumdog Millionaire not so long ago. I remember when I watched it for the first time in Paris right after the movie was released. I had no idea Bombay would become my town. During these couple of months I've spent there I think I have developed stronger attachment to this city than to Kraków or my beloved St. Petersburg.
Bombay is this city, you might feel intimidated in and disgusted with at first. It takes a couple of weeks to not feel lost. I remember my first steps there. Buses with even numbers written in hindi (had to learn Indian numbers fast!), crazy crowd of Bombay railways and maze of the streets. First time I stepped out of CST I felt this is it. I loved it straight away.
I remember one day I walked out of Churchgate station and I noticed I was followed by someone. I turned back and the guy smiled at me and asked me for how long I've been living in India. I asked how did he know I lived in here? He said 'You don't walk like a tourist, you walk with confidence like a person who knows this place. This is your town, right? What are you doing here?' This was the moment when I felt I started belonging there. He was a florist and had a shop nearby. I went on to bump into him a couple of times more and he would always stop me for a quick chat about life.
When you start recognizing random people on the streets and they recognize you too, the city starts to feel as though it was yours. Some rickshaw drivers and street vendors started to recognize me recently. Everything was on the way up... I'm gutted it had to end so abruptly like a book being closed before it's fully read.
On the other hand Im thinking how damn lucky I am. I have been to places of which I read when I was 12 years old from the encyclopedias and other books. I would write down the names of the cities randomly and memorize them and I had no idea what for. I don't think I've dreamt then I would ever make it to China, Indonesia, India. It turned out I went on to visit some of these places.
Maybe I'm greedy, maybe I'm ungrateful, but I still think I haven't seen enough, I haven't met enough people. I'm torn what to do next. I know I have to go. I cannot stay here. This place feels like a cage and I've learned how to fly. I'm not sure if I should try my luck in another country or I should go back to India. One might think - you've seen enough, settle down and stay in a place. I can't. I have to be on the move. I definitely will go back to India. My soul is still there... I need to recapture it. And to meet the ones I've left.