My trip to Mumbai back in 2017 was impactful. It changed me in ways I never thought I could change. That trip was also my first semi-solo trip. I haven’t had a solo-trip yet, and that will change soon enough. That said, there is a distinct quote that I came across in Mumbai and those five words changed everything that followed.
My life is my message.
These five words were said by Mahatma Gandhi. I wasn’t aware of this sentence until this quote pretty much spoke to me when I was in Mumbai. How so? This quote came to me thrice during my week-long stay there.
The First: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS)
I was here during my first day. After spending some time looking at paintings, some of which were incredibly brilliant pieces of art and appreciating the rest of the museum, I came to a gallery where this bust stood quietly before the blue wall.
Something about this quote really struck me. It was inexplicable. It is still unexplainable. The best things usually are. However, it got registered, and I clicked the photo.
The Second: Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya
Mani Bhavan on Laburnum Road just stands there, almost invisible. I got down from the taxi which dropped me right at the mouth of Laburnum Road. The driver did not know “Gandhi Museum,” a name that Google had quite confidently included in the list of places to see. I learned later that the building was called Mani Bhavan.
I passed the place thrice before realising that this normal looking house was in fact, the place where Gandhi managed his movements for a while. I entered and was greeted by a rather humble man who explained to me that they took care of the place and what it stands for. He also told me that I could donate but only if I wanted to and handed me a pamphlet which also had the map of the house.
In that house were several rooms but my favourite was the hall with little enactments of Gandhi’s life done through clay models and dolls. Some of these are below.
As I went downstairs and started heading out, the same sentence caught my eye. It was written on a glass panel in a somewhat transparent font.
I smiled, and I walked to the counter. I put in some donation and made my way outside.
The Third: Random Poster On The Wall
On my last night, I bid goodbye to my friend and dropped her home in Colaba. My hotel wasn’t as far, and since it was late and taxis were hard to come by at the time, I decided to take a walk.
It started drizzling. Mumbai in monsoons is somewhat unpredictable, and I’ve learned that I have a thing with rains and travelling anyway. As I made my way to my hotel, I saw a poster that had Mahatma Gandhi’s photo and had the following words printed underneath.
My life is my message.
Maybe it was the Baader-Meinhof principle at work. However, my trip to Mumbai was almost magical in a lot of ways, and I chose to take the better explanation. I’m not sure if I was reading between the lines more than I should have and I don’t want to be sure.
“His life was his message. So, make sure your life is yours,” I said to myself as I entered my hotel room.
It was a good week for a lot of good reasons but this one stands out the most, for some obscure reason.