Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Life. Some City.

It's a coincidence but over the past few weeks, I've had a lot of people ask me the same question in different ways. How do I like living in Delhi, now that it's been a little over than a year? My answer is usually also different variants of the same... I'm used to it here & am not really looking to change.

To this, people who've been living in Delhi proudly murmur something about how people tend to fall in love with Delhi or how it's hard to leave Delhi once you've been here (Coincidentally, that's exactly what people living in Bombay say about Bombay).

People who don't live in Delhi usually berate me about being lazy & say Bombay is a much nicer place to be in.

I hear both sides with the same blankness. The fact of the matter is that I don't care about the place. For me, one is as good as the other.

I don't like Delhi for the heat & hot-headedness/misplaced aggression. I don't like Bombay for the fact that I feel like a rat in a horde of rats (what's the name for a group of rats anyway?) running helter-skelter to make space in a crowded city & for the monsoon-induced floods.

I like Delhi for the laid-backness & space. I like Bombay for the convenience, liveliness at odd hours & the beach by the night.

I also like Chennai for the beach; Ahmedabad for its budding city nature, mango juice at the red stalls & street food; Calcutta for it's street food; Hyderabad for Necklace Road & the lake; Munger for not being a city; Manipal for being over-run by students; Bangalore for the weather; Pondicherry for looking like a small colonial colony, etc etc...

And that's the point I'm trying to make. Each city has its own merits & demerits. When I left Chennai, I felt I had grown attached to the place. Now when I go back, it doesn't feel so familiar & welcome anymore. The point being that I am not attached to places... I'm attached to my life there. For me a city grows around the time I've spent there & the life I've lived there and not the other way around.

So what my previously stated attachments boil down to is that I like Bombay for my internship period. I also like Chennai for having lived there for a majority of my life; Ahmedabad for my time at MICA; Calcutta for it's street food (yes, still!) & for visits to my maternal family; Hyderabad for visits to my paternal family; Munger for spending 6 years of my life; Manipal for a week-long trip in Pooja's hostel room; Bangalore for hiding with Guinea inside a store because we saw a teacher of ours across the road (after having bunked a retreat at college with some cock & bull story); Pondicherry for a lovely drive with parents, etc etc...

Likewise for Delhi. I like it here for the friends I have, for the comfort of a home & for familiarity. But all of it could easily be recreated in a different place. Hence, I can't find myself connecting with people who feel almost patriotic towards the cities they've grown up in. What I can connect to are shared memories & reminiscing about the times gone.

Moving around is nice to get a feel a new things. However, self-initiating change isn't so nice. :)