Love & Life Voices

I Moved From Mumbai to a Small Town for Love, and Here’s What It Taught Me

If the price of love is moving from a metropolitan city like Mumbai to a small town like Dehradun, would you pay it?

Dr Bhawna Sindhwani, 40, Dehradun

My Sindhi mum and Punjabi dad met at work, and I was born and raised in the City of Dreams, Mumbai. Despite being a well-protected only child, I was taught to value money. During my graduation, I even worked as a part-time instructor at a popular gym. I aspired to do my MBA and become financially independent like my parents.

I first met my husband when I was in class 12. He had come from Dehradun to attend his cousin’s wedding in Mumbai; she happened to be my best friend. He and I only met thrice before we decided to tie the knot.

I was 22 years old and had just completed my MBA from Mumbai when we got married. I was very sure I wanted to pursue a career, and my husband’s family was very supportive about it.

Going for a wedding
With my husband Samir

And so I made the big move, something I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams as a youngster: shifting base from Mumbai to Dehradun.

Growing up as an only child and then moving into a big joint family where I was the youngest was just a continued journey of being pampered, now by even more family members!

My brother-in-law initiated my first job in Dehradun two months after my wedding as he knew how much it meant to me to have my own identity. He even picked and dropped me to my workplace till I learnt the routes and then drove myself.

Dr-Bhawna-Sindhwani
The professor at work

It wasn’t easy initially adjusting to the place as I came from a fast-paced big city with unlimited opportunities. I visited Mumbai twice a year and stocked up on my necessities as Dehradun in 2001 was very different from what it is today.

Then I enrolled for a PhD programme out of my city and travelled on a regular basis for research. By then I was also pregnant. Luckily, I had the complete support of my family, especially my father-in-law and husband who were my pillars of strength.

Later, my mum and dad decided to move to Dehradun from Mumbai after dad retired as the love of their grandson pulled them here.

Holiday in the hills
On a holiday in Munnar this year with my husband and son

For me this was a true gift from this city of Doon where I had all my loved ones with me, a satisfying career in academics where I could switch roles and multi-task thus balancing me-time and family time, besides following my spiritual calling, Buddhism.

At 20 in Mumbai, I was self-centered about my dreams and goals. Now, at 40 in Dehradun, I have learnt to appreciate my life and value my relations. I may have left behind the City of Dreams, but I’ve gained so many more beautiful moments to cherish in real life. There is no regret.

First published in the Winter 2018 issue of eShe magazine.