"When bright flowers bloom Parchment crumbles, my words fade The pen has dropped ..."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tale of Many cities

Recently I was watching "Wake up Sid" the best part I liked about the movie was the Mumbai city and love for the city. Each city or town ..small or big , cosmopolitan or provincial, modern or Victorian each have its own lifeline, a heart beat.
During my 30 years on this planet I have lived in various cities of my country and now in a foreign land. All had a deep impact on my soul and life. Heres a short account of all the major cities of my life. Sorry friends for boring you, but earnestly I cant keep it very short.
Though I was born in "The City of Joy", I never lived there for more than a month. From Calcutta to Kolkata , once I was completely in love with this city, now I am not quite sure. Kolkata reminds me of  the "Howrah Bridge", the jhal muris , the crowded electric trains and ofcourse sweet nanihal. I still remember the sheer joy of the first glimpse of the Howrah Bridge during our annual Kolkata vacation when our train approached the Howrah Station. And grandparents' pampering with loads of hogging and tons of idling oh it was pure bliss. How badly I miss those days.
Next on the list of my habitats would be Jabalpur, the place where I first came out of my Ma's and Baba's lap, the place where I made my first friends of life and the place where I took my first step towards the unfathomable ocean of knowledge and education. I can not forget till death my alma mater "Christ Church Girl's School", nor the beautiful dhuandhaar and bhedaghat, the amazing "Balancing rock"(a rock balanced on another rock) ,nor simply the 8km commutation by rickshaw to school. Small and big nostalgias of this city keep haunting me time and again.
After a decade of stay at Jabalpur we moved to Gwalior.. the land of Tansen and also the Scindias. I owe to Gwalior a lot many things.. my education, start of my career, good friends, a flair for arts and many more. My school from 7-12 standard , my engineering college, the tutions , the colony, our rented house where we had stayed for 12 long years , its sun bathed courtyard, not to forget our best landowner Aunty Uncle, the annual Trade Fair which happens every Winters, the Gwalior fort where we had picniced hundred times,the market which is at the heart of Gwalior all beckon me. At first I never liked Gwalior, on the contrary I quite hated the city. I used to tell every other person that I would never miss it. But Gwalior summons me like no other place now.
While my parents moved to Delhi, I had to join my job at Mysore, so I never literally stayed at Delhi. Apart from the weekend trips to Delhi when I was located at Chandigarh, I never lived a Delhi life. And the weekends were just cloud nine with Ma's delectable recipes and drives to CP or sarojini nagar.
My rendezvous with Mysore just lasted for 3 months but it was the most beautiful. When Baba and I reached mysore, I can vividly remember how the gulmohar trees blooming with flowers and an overcasted sky welcomed us. Mysore is famous for it palace, the palace of Woyedars. This palace lits up with some 1000s of lights every Sunday at 7pm amidst the music of band , the scene is simply spectacular. The Infosys campus, its beautiful hostels, buildings, the adept housecleaning staff(who pampered us the fullest by doing literally everything.. from making our beds to cleaning the trash to sweeping the rooms spotlessly), the rains ravishing on our room's window , the midnight studies with the steaming cream roll and coffee from the pantry, the cycling after dinner, the weekend runaways to the mysore city and ofcourse some of my best friends I made there are all part of a fantabulous time spent there. I wish to take hubby atleast for once to this beautiful small sleepy city.
From mysore my job took me to Bangalore.The city of Gardens was my dream city once. Bangalore with its Malls and showrooms, its culture , traditions and modernizations is a true cosmopolitan. You will find sabji walas speaking in English and saree donned ladies working in top MNCs. MG road, Lalbagh, Infant Jesus church , ISKON temple and not to forget the Kormangala PG where I stayed for 1 and half years and where I had got some superb roomates  bring back to my mind the splendid bygone days.
Last but never the least comes is the city of Pune. This the city where I would love to settle down. This is the city where I had lived my life the fullest, did the craziest of things with my friends and roomates, wandered on the streets of Lakshmi Road and FC road to buy nothing and everything, watched movies back to back on weekends, got my first passion for cooking, spent invaluable time with kids of Aakansha(an NGO), got down from the bus in the middle just to grab the taste of a particular infamous roadside chicken biryani, or listened to FM on  the rain smeared Mumbai Pune Highway enroute to office, spent hours playing cards, scrabble , scotland yard and "Raja mantri chor sipahi", danced to the beats without knowing how to, the tea time snacks at Infosys foodcourt.. Pune I miss you so much. I thank all my friends for making my stay at Pune the most memorable.
Unlike many I wont be able to call a particular city my own but I tried to carve a niche in all the cities I stayed
The memories identified with all these cities are the sweetest and I dream of their revival time and again. As its said: “The axis of the earth sticks out visibly through the centre of each and every town or city.” 


anindita said...

What a beautiful account of the cities. What if it is a long one, it did not bore the reader even for a nano-second. Quite contradictorily, it kept me stuck to the lines.

I loved the end quote so much.

Waiting for a similar account of our Lakshadweep Trip, why not? Chaai—chaai...

Vinay said...

Nice collage of the cities on top! Like you, I too hated Gwalior initially. But now, if asked, which city would I want to stay in, I would definitely like to go back to Gwalior!! The fort, the trade fair, are all too appealing to be missed.

dreamer said...

Nice one Sush..I believe that every city I have lived in has molded me in a certain way ..So in some ways I carry them with me..I have to say though that Gwalior was quite a cultural shock to me ..It is definitely not on my list of favourite cities..:)

Sushmita said...

Thanks Mugdha , Vinay and Ani di.. for liking the article..
@ Ani.di Lakshadweep Trip was one of the most exciting trips we had.. and you know wht.. we 3 missed u all in our andaman trip.. will write sm day abt the trip and will seek for ur inputs..

amy said...

thats one hell of a b'ful account !

Nishigandha said...

Amazing!! ... fell in love with pune once again ... and mysore!! .. will always bring a smile ... :)

Bimal Kumar Sahu said...

Very nice. Yes every city, every town or every village or place has it's own rhythm and pulsation. You can't compare. You can recollect the night at Amarkantak. Still I remember when I sit alone or your ma only in dark night with heavy shower.

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