home is where the heart is

WARNING! This is a very very long post!

First semester at IIT, we had our introduction session. Each one of us had to go up to the stage, state our names, where we are from and our hobbies and ambitions. My batch started giving mundane answers, where only the ‘nouns’ changed. All this while, waiting for my turn to come, I was thinking of a ‘different’ and ‘refreshing’ approach to answer the question.
This is what I came up with:

“…..Where am I from? In a sense, you can say I am a true ‘Indian’. I have stayed in Delhi, done the whole of my schooling in Calcutta, Engineering in Bangalore, called Chennai home when doing engineering, and am now in Mumbai, and in a month or two, my parents would be shifting here, to make Mumbai, my new ‘home’………”

This brings me to the real purpose of this post. For the last couple of days, I have been thinking, which city do I call “home”, and the following rambling is the analysis of just that!


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

  1. #1 by Agarwaen Mormegil on March 29, 2006 - 8:10 pm

    you’r a true india. So which city helped you the most to get into IIT? More comments later. gotta go.

  2. #2 by Paurna on March 30, 2006 - 6:31 am

    great post.well my case too is somewhat similar to u.8 years in bombay 2 in kolkata and 9 in chennai.

    as for the exams.best of luck dude.even my exams are starting from april 3rd and just iike urs they will be ending in third week of april

  3. #3 by Yadhvi on March 30, 2006 - 6:07 pm

    Hey Kaushik,
    All the best for your exams…and am soo attached to Madras.. You’ll love this place as you live here longer..
    Your ‘blog friends’ will wait πŸ™‚

  4. #4 by Arnold on April 1, 2006 - 2:56 pm

    dude.. i have a couple of queries…

    wht do the following two sentences mean?

    1. aita te oto bhaab baar ki??

    2. Naa, aami ooto kichu bhabee naa..

    cud u please help me out?

  5. #5 by Mukund on April 1, 2006 - 7:38 pm

    wow!! u are one who can call urself truly indian!! I just love Madras, even when it includes mamis who are very nosey πŸ™‚ good luck for ur exams

  6. #6 by Mukund on April 1, 2006 - 7:38 pm

    wow!! u are one who can call urself truly indian!! I just love Madras, even when it includes mamis who are very nosey πŸ™‚ good luck for ur exams

  7. #7 by Anmol on April 2, 2006 - 2:06 pm

    nice blog man.. I didnt knw u had such a flare to write. Anyway hope ur life in IIt gets more interesting soon

  8. #8 by The Masquer on April 2, 2006 - 2:20 pm

    crunch time here too, but I didnt know even PGs were made to give INTROS! to the junta. I mean, I thought it was only the freshkas who did it. Maybe it is different at ‘B

  9. #9 by Freaky Chakra on April 2, 2006 - 7:25 pm


    1. What’s there to think so much about this?

    2. I dont think so much

    hope it helps πŸ™‚

    Saw the disclaimer earlier & decided to come back later… but having said that – it was a wonderful read.

    3rd millenium isnt there on park street anymore. But a branch has opened at new empire πŸ™‚

    yes, kolkata is changing very fast. lots of new things coming up every couple of months πŸ™‚

  10. #10 by Sowmya on April 3, 2006 - 10:13 am

    just a few things
    -write more often
    -good english
    -write more experiences at IIt ..
    -well it is ive got to accept .. really good

  11. #11 by Demonic Dude on April 4, 2006 - 4:01 pm

    whoa dude.. me experiencing exactly the same things at iit that you are.. don’t even have to time to read ur blog fully, let alone update mine..

    might be my ‘bahana’ too actually πŸ˜‰
    neways keep up the good work.. u r inspiring me to try and emulate ur blog πŸ™‚

  12. #12 by kaushik on April 4, 2006 - 8:56 pm

    aragorn: thnx dude…b’lore i wud guess! but cal helped me get to b’lore!!

    paurna: i think living in differet places enhances ur personality in some way!

    yadhvi: its not tht i dont like madras! but for me, it does not rank good whn compared to cal or bang! thnx for dropping by after such a long time!!!

    arnold: freaky did it for ya!

    mukund: nosey mamis! i hate them totally! vetti people….

    masquer: end sem time sucks big time!
    intro is not the one u r referring to! it is “ACTUALLY” an intro!!

    freaky: thnx for the info! there was one already there na…basement /GF of lighthouse/new empire…used to go there a lot too….its opp some ice cream parlor (scoop i think) or mayb this is also just memories frm my pastnow!!

    DD: thanks a lot dude….emulate my blog..wah wah wah…kya baat hai!!!

    Anmol and sowmya: gr8 to see some coll frnds here! keep coming ppl!!!!

  13. #13 by RR on April 5, 2006 - 10:22 am

    Great post . You write well. Wont believe I had something similar going on in my mind. Calcutta was the best. Least, because its my fav city. Best of luck with the college work.

  14. #14 by Amrita on April 6, 2006 - 7:51 am

    hi kaushik, that was an interesting recollection…and somehow, it appeared very familiar to one of my earlier posts. anyways, I did not know you have spend your childhood in Kolkata. Being a Bong, I would say that it is a city that gradually grows on us.

  15. #15 by sowmya on April 6, 2006 - 9:24 pm

    u r so lucky to hv lived in so many different places . I ve been born n brought up in blore all my life , seriously i guess i can never actually call any other city my home other than blr . But other than blore i like Bombay , it just swept me in like a whirlpool, the local trains .. the beaches .. the night life .. land of oppurtunities .. i can say ..just fell in love with it , dont know y u dont like it ..?

  16. #16 by brute on April 7, 2006 - 7:53 am

    all the best for ur exams da!

  17. #17 by kaushik on April 7, 2006 - 8:02 pm

    sher: thanka a lot man

    amrita: ya i agree with you…ppl coming on short trips to cal end up hating it…traffic, crowd, dirty etc etc…..u gotta live there to love tht place

    reddy: coming on a short trip and living are totally different things!!

    brute:thnx man!

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