In Bombay nothing seems to be where I expect to find it. The pursuit of any destination requires a great investment of mental and physical determination. Looking for a given address where no street names exist (or no one knows them) and buildings are identified by name (not number) can feel like a real test of resources. I have discarded my parents’ advice not to talk to strangers, because strangers are my best allies in navigating this city. Sometimes I just can’t find what I’m looking for, no matter how many people I ask for directions or how many times I walk up and down the street. I end up feeling frustrated, confused and completely defeated.
This afternoon I am heading to a salon in Bandra to get my nails done for tomorrow night’s black-tie event (check back on Sunday for details!). Rather than attempt to find the salon by myself, I am meeting two of my friends at a familiar spot and we’ll try to find the place together. At least if we get lost, we have company. In thinking about this strategy, I realized how much simpler my life could be if I regularly adopted this approach while navigating my inner landscape as well as my outer environment. I tend to deny offers for help or companionship, insisting that I don’t need help. “I can do it myself” has been my unofficial life motto. I’m beginning to learn that while self-sufficiency can be a great asset, it can also be an obstacle to true intimacy with others. So this afternoon is a step in a new direction, hopefully one that will lead me toward learning to be vulnerable.