So many memories, bits of innumerable conversations, anger, fear, pain, love, everything has found its place through my words, put to rest in peace without second thoughts.

There have been stories of aimless wanders, scaling mountains, unaddressed feelings and ethereal emotions. It is perhaps the first time that the sounds of the waves have surrendered and rested on the worn-out pages of my diary, left unattended, without the etchings that tear it apart and bind it together. Left without words. It is the first time that the sands of Mumbai have found its place in the folds of my forlorn diary. Had the dry, weathered soil of Spiti ever thought of finding the distant sands of the shore of the Arabian Sea to share the love, the longing of a wanderess? Had the Himalayan winds ever danced with the maddening soul of Mumbai, its infallible serenity in motion?

collage art by Reya Ahmed

I could write about the stories that Mumbai is tired of hearing, tales told to death, nooks and corners visited and revisited, shore touched, sounds heard. No, I don’t, by any chance, mean to take those away from this city. Sitting at the much-renowned Juhu Beach, I want to add yet another letter to this city’s overflowing mailbox. Another note of gratitude, a wish and my renewed faith in the soul and life of a metropolitan. Amongst all the honking of the numerous cars, people scurrying and rushing to different destinations, there is a hushed voice, a muffled laughter, a sweet whisper which never leaves my side. I have been here for hardly four days and yet, there is something that I have found which urges me to walk its forbidden streets.

I could be anyone here. The child learning how to somersault, the old couple holding hands and walking, sharing a cup of chai, the boys playing volley, the mother watching her child build sand-castles. I could be anybody, losing myself to their hidden stories. But, I am the one sitting on the sand bed, fumbling for words as she tries to convey the beats of her heart, watching the sea make its way further into the shore. I am the one sharing silence with the stranger in the blue shirt.

Written by Shubhanjana Das

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