*02.46 pm* Lata Mangeshkar sings जीवनात ही घडी अशीच राहु दे, प्रीतिच्या फुलावरी वसंत नाचु दे, जीवनात ही घडी अशीच राहु दे in my earphones. I don’t even know how my playlist shuffled to it, but it works.
The streets are wet and greasy from the drizzle that hasn’t stopped since morning. An old white lady walks towards the bus station in full trekking gear while I sit indoors at Adsetts Library in Sheffield looking at her through the window and writing.
I didn’t even realise that three months have gone by. I moved to the UK in the first week of March and Sheffield already feels like home. There is some familiarity, something similar to Pune here that I forget I am in a whole different part of the world. I’ve got some write ups published, have been working on my novel as well as reading more stuff than I have in the last few years. Things are super and I miss my mau.
The year in the pandemic has taught me a lot. It has, especially, taught me to be grateful, to realise the value of people who genuinely, unabashedly love and care for you. One of them is my best friend, Sam. This is the longest we have gone without seeing each other, especially with her being married now and me being away. But this gem of a person doesn’t care about all of that. She visited her parents after more than three months of moving with her husband and during her visit, she made it a point to meet MY parents one evening. I mean, I am here, there was no need for her to do this, but she did, she cares and she gets it that they would be missing me and just wanted to make them happy. Gem! Never losing her.
I don’t know what it is if not sheer luck to find the most caring, compassionate and supportive folks in life. Sheffield feels so comfortable to me already because of all the people I’ve met here. They’ve become my home away from home, a support bubble, a bunch that I know will be around for a long time. It is Carlyn’s encouragement every time I am in a writing slump, her humour helping me get through the lonely writing bouts or Meilany’s company for every time I want to go out. She is the one person I’ve spent most my time with here. We live on different planets. She introduced me to Indonesian food and history, exposed me to anime and some cool cool Japanese shows, I made her listen to old Marathi songs, she loved it. We have had beers on the canal and walked around in rain to all the nearby parks. Our worlds are as different from each other as possible and yet, she is the closest friend I’ve made in Sheffield. Grace, my flatmate, loves to take photos. A strong force of positivity. Tell her I’m having a bad day and need to feel better, she will be ready in ten minutes to take me out, whatever I need. Biggest hype-woman. We hold contrasting opinions about politics and other things, she is still the one I go to, for every little thing. Nancy, my other flatmate is what you’d call a small packet energy. We have used up all sunny days to walk in the parks. Or more like I laze around in the grass while she joins some boys for football. She is beautiful, I love clicking her pictures. Friends from different parts of the world, sailing the same boat.
I’ve made friends with a bunch of guys from India. We have had some great evenings together.
I will be starting my part-time work soon at a steakhouse. The people seem sweet and welcoming, I am excited. I’ve also picked up stuff about steak, wine pairing and serving now. There were times when I was in Mumbai, when I felt like that was my whole life. I had never, in my wildest imagination, thought I’d be here, adapting to a completely different life and culture, meeting so many new people and experiencing life in new ways.
In this grey country, life is colourful. Looking forward to enjoy two more months of summer.
PS. all the places I’ve visited in Sheffield deserve a separate post. Coming soon 🙂