WARNING! This is a very very long post!
This is what I came up with:
17 years in Kolkata! This alone is reason sufficient for anyone to say that their home is Calcutta!
Childhood memories are the sweetest and all my childhood memories are set in calcutta. Memories like my first school rickshaw, 5/6 of us cramped into a small box, pulled by a never tiring rickshaw-wallah, of the reckless school van driver, of the tram that took me leisurely to school/tutions, of the metro, my best friend in helping me reach school on time (11th and 12th), of playing “gully-cricket” and breaking “kaanch” (window panes), and “Dissaparating” from the scene, of staging dance and plays for durga puja and for the “south india club’, of roaming all round the city on “ashtami” nights, of globe and new-empire and priya and menaka, of “third millenium” on park street (my favourite haunt, cal guys, let me know if its still there), of chowmeins and egg rolls, of reading “ASK” secretly, of trying to look smart and ‘patao’ girls at vibes, cataclysm etc etc…
Obviously, I can’t just say Calcutta was about a naughty childhood only! It is the place where I have learnt to become what, I am. I have learnt ‘to live’ here. My closest friends today are still those who I befriended in my school days. I have learnt my lessons in almost all walks of life here. City of first crush (back then, it was first love), city which has given me the confidence to dream and achieve them (obviously, through the amazing teachers that I have had there), taught me how to be a friend, taught me love, jealousy, hatred, reconcilation, humility, pride…….
But today, If I return to calcutta, I will return a stranger, a strange ‘madrasi’ who speaks fluent bengali. Everything that was calcutta to me has changed in the last 5 years. My school, has become unrecognizable from the asbestos covered shed it was, my teachers have either left or retired, all my close friends have relocated to other cities in search of greener pastures, newer roads, taller buildings, unfamiliar neighbourhood……
I will go back to calcutta, looking for a familiar past in an unfamiliar future.
Makes me wonder, what do I have in Calcutta, except for my memories to call it ‘home’
If Calcutta gave me the preliminary course in life, Bangalore gave me the ‘advanced’ course, with an additional tricky subject called ‘Independence’. Bangalore gave me “hostel life”, and I would be lying if I do not acknowledge 01-05 as the best years in my life. The hostel made each one of us ‘men’ out of ‘boys’. This is not just a cliched phrase that I am writing, but a fact!. Trying to manage life on Rs2000/- a month, living alone, washing your clothes, taking care of small sundries, is an essential eduaction. But the real education in Bangalore (apart from my degree that is!), was ‘maturity, handling situations, organizing events, handling friendship, relationship, love, heart-break, success, failure is something that I
will never forget. These are some ‘instincts’ that I will never forget.
No discussion of Bangalore can be complete without mention of the ‘fun’ and ‘friends’ that I had and made at bangalore. These friends are a part of me now!
Fun in college varied from year to year. First year was the year of making friends and girl friends, then second year’s fun was to celebrate each and everything worth celebratable, in the third year, seriousness was ‘fun’ with joint study sessions for GRE/CAT/Placements, while the fourth year was spent parked at various pubs and discos and bars rather than our hostel rooms!
Again, as with calcutta, bangalore is slowly becoming a city of memories for me. Atleast, till last year, a few of my closest friends were there, but studies/work is taking them away from Bangalore. Still, presently, I have an urge to settle down at bangalore. You just get addicted to the bangalore weather, and not to mention the vibrant culture of the place, which is special only to bangalore!
‘Home’ during hostel years was Madras for me. Dad got transferred to madras about the same time i got my admission to RVCE bangalore. Initially, my sister and me were a bit skeptical about leaving calcutta, the only place we had known then, to go to ‘ultra conservative’ madras, a city where boys of class 8 start preparing for boards, IIT, GRE etc etc, where only ‘marks’ matters ( got a nasty experience
of this), where the Mamis have an ‘eye’ out for making unwarranted comments even if a boy says hi to a girl. Anyways, I was happy that I would not have to stay there 24X7
But, If I were racing in bangalore, Madras was my ‘pit-stop’. Over the four years, I have started to like madras. Got pretty close with my cousin, especially my cousin sister (who I admire and respect a lot) and relatives, all of whom with, I have had a great time.
Right now, I miss ‘Madras’. I miss my lovely relatives, my adorable sister, who is slogging it out at a ‘maximum security’ girls hostel and a antedilluvian physiotherapy college.
IIT and living in Bombay had always been my dreams. 2005, was two in one: admission to IIT-B. But since then, I feel that, I am in a downward spiral. I am not able to connect with the M.tech junta here, which is making my life lonlier by the day.
Bombay is a beautiful city, sandwiched between hills and the sea, but the people here are so busy that they do not have the time to stand for a second and enjoy the beauty. Life goes here at clockwork precision, and I am not able to adjust to it at all. I am more suited to the ‘Babu’ lifestyle of calcutta or the ‘lazily’ busy bangalore way.
But still living in Bombay is an experience which no other city can give and words cant describe!
Dad got transferred to Bombay, september last, and then ‘home’ and ‘ghar ka khana and mahoul’has been my lifeline in lonely bombay.
I have rambled on and on, but still am unable to figure out, what my ‘home’ is! My heart skips around all night in my dreams.
Guess this is another lesson that I am learning.
“……Musafir hoon yaaron
ghar hain naa thikaana
chalte jaana hai
bas chalte jaana hai…..”
PS:I feel terribly guilty for not being able to update my blog regularly, and more so, of not being to read and comment on my ‘blog friends’ posts!
It is crunch time here at IIT-the semester end. Profs are realizing that they were too slow the last three months, quiz scheduling is looking like a optimization problem. assignments double, submissions triple….
But this is just a part of my ‘bahana’. I still have a lot of time, but that is (mis)used in trying to set a WR for maximum sleeping in crunch week and a new found hobby, writing meaningless scraps on orkut
Hope to be more regular when all this ends, third week of april!!!
All the logos for the city is from a site called googlealive