Monday, March 11, 2019


A belated post which I had saved in my drafts. Publishing this after a delay of around 6 months. Consider this as something which should have published in August 2018

According to wikipedia - 
A motor reflex, or reflex action, is an involuntary and nearly instantaneous movement in response to a stimulus. A reflex is made possible by neural pathways called reflex arcs which can act on an impulse before that impulse reaches the brain. 
Me and the wife always used to fight over the remote in our quaint little place in Airoli, Navi Mumbai. Whether it be the television remote or the air conditioning, it was always diametrically opposite views. As far as the air conditioning goes, I like it pleasantly chilly; she likes it warm. It was therefore always a standoff. I liked 21 degrees centigrade, she preferred 25. 4 degrees can make all the difference when it comes to a bedroom and a sauna. Like in all marriages, we had to compromise. We would switch on the AC AND the ceiling fan with a timer. 21 degrees with a fan switched on for 30 minutes would give enough wind-chill to sustain us for the next few hours of a movie or a nap. We had the same air conditioner installed in the bedroom as well as our "den". And we'd use the same protocol in both rooms. It was our own brand of weird and crazy. But this arrangement gave me the habit of always switching on the timer as soon as I switched on the AC. It became a reflex. If i pressed the power switch of my AC on, my thumb would immediately move over to the timer which was exactly below the power button. 

For the past few weeks I am staying in a hotel room. Heck, the past couple of years have been uncertain and volatile. I've been travelling hither and tither. New assignments, new people, new challenges. I've wrapped up my affairs in Mumbai, moved to Pune . . been on business travel periodically. Been living out of a suitcase. This whole "phase" was crystallized in my mind and the impact of it all came crashing down on me in one simple reflex motion - the AC remote in my hotel room. I returned today evening to the hotel room in question, dumped the week's supplies onto the table and crashed onto the sofa in front of the TV; much like I was wont to do at home in Airoli. I grabbed the air conditioner's remote, switched it on and my thumb automatically moved down to find the timer. And then it came crashing down. I was no longer in my lazy-boy and my den. Or my bed. The Airoli chapter had closed. 

One simple reflex action. That's all it took for memories to come crashing down on me like the flood waters out of a dam. The brain is such a funny thing. I had nothing on my mind just five minutes before I took the remote into my hand. And just five minutes after; I was on a roller-coaster ride down memory lane. The fights and the hugs, the jabs and the kisses. The evenings spent wandering around the suburbs, the late nights spent working, the movies in our den where we'd installed two insanely expensive recliners in front of our large-screen TV, the small nook of our lives that we created like two birds building a nest . . it all came crashing down on me because of one reflex motion. 

Today I am on the cusp of a new assignment, a new city and a new country where I wait for my wife to join me so we can settle down and build another nest. I look forward to creating similarly pleasant and everlasting memories in this new place. But I shall always look back on yet another Mumbai chapter of my life with fondness and nostalgia. This city has given me life-long friends, memories to cherish and has nurtured me to become the man I presently am. Invisibly and in the shadows, she shall continue to guide me with a steady hand in the future as well. As the cliched saying goes; you can take a person out of Mumbai, but you can't take Mumbai out of a person. But most of all, I shall cherish my small apartment and the quaint corner we built. We created the decor, we chose the furniture ourselves; bit by bit, rupee by rupee. We set it up with our own hands. We fought and we cried there. We lived, loved and laughed there. We returned there each evening to lick our wounds and to rally for the next day. We sallied forth on our weekend excursions from there. It was our base, our lauch-pad. We called it home. We thank Mumbai for this home and for some of the memorable moments of our lives.

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