I think we need to talk.
I know, so cliché, right?! That sentence can never be good.
But hear me out.
We’ve been on this rollercoaster of a relationship for, what now, over 20 years? That’s a long time. A lot has happened over the years and I’ve experienced so much with you.
Maybe too much.
I was forced to meet you when I was just 10; when my family moved over here because of my Dad’s work. I hated my family for it and I didn’t like you very much either.
For starters, you smelled in every sense of the meaning – from your cooking to your trash-filled canals and backyards to your street-side sewage.
I was also used to a certain way of life back home in Pakistan: food the way I wanted it, close friendships I’d made over the years, and a culture that was completely different from yours.
Perhaps it was me. I was just a kid after all; inexperienced and misplaced.
The first two years here were the toughest of my life and every day was a challenge. I didn’t know if I would ever fit in here or have any sense of belonging.
Then, the longer I stayed with you, the more my perspective began to shift. We started to get to know each other better and I knew I had to give you a chance.
As I grew, so did my love for you
This can’t be much of a surprise – most boys in their teens and tweens have a soft spot for you.
And curiously, so do men in their 50s, but I can only speculate as to why.
You have that mystical charm over us.
We can go out and have drinks, dance and meet interesting people all night and still be able to wake up the next morning to go temple hopping or to one of the countless shopping malls you keep spoiling us with.
You’re the overbearing, fussy mother we all love and hate in equal measure.
If I’m feeling hungry, day or night, I only need step out of the house and there are stalls at every corner to satisfy my cravings.
When I need to get somewhere, you have a dozen varied chauffeurs placed at my disposal. Whether a motorbike taxi to beat the traffic, a boat to beat the roads or the BTS to intersect the city’s most populous neighbourhoods. Your maze of transportation is just wonderful!
I love how everyday is an adventure with you, and that even after 20 years, I still find astonishing hidden spots around new corners.
Where else can I get the luxuries of the concrete jungle while being just a hop and skip away from the tranquility of nature in your green lungs?
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Bangkok. This isn’t the fairytale happy ending you think it is.
Sometimes, I feel like that 10-year old boy again
Something has changed within you recently.
You’ve been acting out – as if someone has chewed you up and spat you back out, turning you into this crazy monster.
You’ve had no mercy for the cars on your roads with accident after accident reported, you’ve been belligerently spewing out the hot weather (although lately you’ve seemed to catch the cold on occasion), and even allowed yourself to be plagued with diseases, rapes and murders.
What happened to you?
I’m not able to understand it. Maybe, you’ve been pushed around too much and this is your way of fighting back.
All I know is that yet again I’m at a Bangkok crossroads, full of mixed emotions: hope and despair, fear and complacency, happiness and annoyance.
The problem is that I’ve become too accustomed and comfortable with you. That’s not necessarily a good thing, and it’s never a positive thing for a relationship, is it?
That’s not to say I don’t love you anymore. In fact, in some ways I love you more than ever – but there’s also a sense of resentment that I just can’t seem to shake off.
I need an occasional break from you, Bangkok. So let’s just take it slow and live it day by day.
I’ll be taking a lot more time off, from work and from you, as I travel to distant cities and countries.
But don’t take it to heart, Bangkok. You’ll always be part of me, wherever I go, and you should know that I’ll always come back to you, and only you.
Call it complacency or call it comfort, but there’s no denying that you sure know how to keep a guy hooked in your wings.
In the immortal words of Rihanna…
Featured image is of Shayan Naveed from his Instagram page