I miss the dynamism of life at sea: Gaurav Lal

Gaurav Lal, 35, marine operations manager, on moving to Mumbai.

Written by Glyn Peterson | Mumbai | Published: March 27, 2016 12:00 am
Gaurav Lal. Gaurav Lal.

What brought you to Mumbai?
I was a sea captain for a shipping company. I moved here two-and-a-half years ago to start a new project.This has been my first job ashore.

Do you miss that life?
I miss the dynamism. I spent roughly 15 years at sea and was always on a different ship in a different ocean. From the outside, every day might look the same, but in reality, no two days are alike when your office is floating.

In all of your travels, what has been the most spectacular sight that you have come across?
I was on a ship on the Pacific Ocean when I came across an enormous waterspout. It looked like a massive storm was coming towards the ship. If we got close enough, it could cause serious damage, but I wanted to see it, so I sailed towards it and passed it on my starboard side.

What was your first impression of Mumbai?
I live in Hiranandani, Powai, which is very nice, but I find Mumbai very congested. I grew up in Delhi, where there is more open space and despite how bad the traffic can get, it feels more organised.

What is your favourite part about living in Mumbai?
In the past year or two, I have seen the benefits of leaving the sea. I have a little community of friends — people I met in kung fu and dance classes. I’ve started going to a church and have made friends there. This has made me feel like I belong to the city.

Do you want to return to the sea?
I’m always open to moving but my perspective of life ashore has changed. I feel like I have more opportunities to evolve as a person while living in a city. I also realise that I can still get my travel fix. It can actually be easier because it is less challenging to plan ahead. I once met a Japanese girl at the Delhi airport who flew in for the weekend to visit the Taj Mahal, Jaipur and Delhi. She was going to get back to Tokyo in time to get to work on Monday. I thought, ‘If she can do that with a desk job, then I can too.’

City Seekers: A series on migrants in urban India.

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