In five days I will leave your ground, leave the land I’ve called my home for twenty three long years. I’ll be leaving my sanctuary, the only city I’ve ever fallen in love with.

In five days, my flight takes off from your runway, the airport that I’ve been so proud of growing smaller and smaller in the distance as I fly halfway across the world.

If there was a way to let you know how thankful I am to you, I hope this letter is it.

Thank You for cradling me in your beaches, in your warm, warm sea. Where I’m going, the ocean is much, much colder.

Thank you for your sweltering heats, the pleasant nights smelling of salt and sand.

Thank you for your love, the people you hold in your arms ever willing to help, even when they themselves have nothing to offer.

Thank you for teaching me to stay humble regardless of how high I rise.

For the packed trains to the crowded buses that I never thought I could miss so much. For the millions of auto rickshaw rides through some really bumpy roads.

This letter may be scattered, because that’s how I feel, untangling you from my life is so difficult, so painful.

It feels like leaving a mother, like untangling the roots, so I can finally take flight.

I promise you this, though. Even if I reach the highest tree, or fly above the highest cloud, I will never forget where I cane from, never forget the roots that forged me into the person I am.

Many read posts about Mumbai being an emotion, only those who live here can understand.

You are not a city, you are my heart, you are the memories I carry, twenty three years worth of it.

And I promise to love you even if some of the places that I have memories of cease to exist, blown away by the sands of time. Because this love I hold for you is not superficial, it runs much deeper than that.

I’m trying to explain what you are to me, Mumbai, but I don’t think I’m doing a good enough job. I only hope that you know, and if you hear my name uttered somewhere in the future, that you will be proud that you contributed to it.

I do and will always love you.

With Love

Sonali