The Me That Delhi Made
I woke up this morning feeling peculiarly optimistic. With an electric frisson that I could possibly change the world today. Or better yet, that I could cross a chaotic Delhi road without losing limbs to overzealous autos or the occasionally meandering cow.
Now this was a strange, foreign feeling. I had grown quite accustomed to my suspicious view of the world, and this newfound optimism made me queasy. I’d gone to sleep like every other night before, nodding off in the glow off my phone screen – so how had this optimism suddenly now crept into my bones?
Perhaps those two days of salad and squats had yielded miracle results? Yes, yes, my yogi rebirth must’ve come surprisingly quickly! I did a swift check while mentally styling my new Size 2 body in skinny jeans and crop tops. But alas, the kangaroo pouch I’d sprouted since the birth of my sons had reported for duty per usual, right on time.
Something else was askew. Ah, maybe something magical I had to look forward to today – the universe must already know what I didn’t as yet! Would a large vat of Tanzanian peaberry coffee be hand delivered to my doorstep by one Mr. Justin Trudeau? Better yet, had Donald Trump been sent off to live on a rapidly melting Arctic glacier?
Or was it just that I simply woke up a New Me? Yes, I must have become one of those esoteric weirdos who were oddly exuberant in the mornings! Just me, my avocado toast, chirping birds and the misty dawn – gosh, the new me was so Instagrammable. But waking up with the sun to the sensation of my toddler’s foot planted squarely on my bladder, I knew this couldn’t possibly be the case. I was tired. And hashtag, I had to pee.
And that’s when it struck me all at once, in a flash of rapid realization. That frisson, the miracle, what the universe was telling me – what this overwhelming optimism meant. It meant – I was home.
I had now spent a year in Delhi. And I realized then, Delhi had spent a year in me. We’d had our quarrels – the smog, the politics, the perpetually late – but turns out, we’d also fallen in love.
I had woken up in love with Delhi – her sunny warmth, her antiquated architecture and her can-do spirit. The barista who tousled my son’s hair and snuck him mini croissants, and the wildly energetic people I spent the days with building a start-up. The way Chandni Chowk wakes with a jolt at dawn, and the bright brilliance of Connaught Place in the dark. Freshly roasted peanuts on our tiny porch, and the late night breeze over imaginative conversations with new friends.
Despite the struggles, the haggling, the air, the traffic, I am somehow wildly optimistic in your romance. Here’s to growing a tad older with you, Delhi. To dancing cheek to cheek with your adventures, and holding your comforting hands when the going gets tough. Please don’t break my heart – I quite like this optimistic me you’ve awoken.