‘We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other with us’. I had read this somewhere. I guess the same is true about cities. It’s amazing how a city has the power to envelop you, making you an intrinsic part of the milieu, culture and customs. Over time one gets accustomed to the place, develops a cultural identity, irrespective of the shortcomings.
So, in spite of the foggy winters and stifling summers, excavated roads and endless construction, ostentations and oversized egos, I was in no mood to relocate from Gurgaon. The place was home. Four years ago when my husband announced, “We have to move to Bangalore,” I wasn’t amused. In fact, I was mortified. A new city with no relatives, no friends and absolutely no knowledge of the local language, how else was I supposed to react? And when friends started inviting me for farewell parties, I felt like a sentimental fool. I felt as if this was the only group of friends I could ever have, and that nobody would ever welcome me with open arms. Life was like a carousel on speed, spinning at its own pace, and the only choice was to enjoy the ride with an open mind.
Keeping my apprehensions aside, I embarked on a house hunting trip to Bangalore. I arrived at the airport to be greeted by the gusty winds and limpid showers dancing on the runway. There was a lyrical quality to the rain, never witnessed before. So, this is the much celebrated salubrious weather which beckons, Indians and expats; both flocking to dwell here, I thought.
I sauntered in one of the apartments in search of a suitable residence. The guard stopped me at the gate, “Madam, only residents are allowed.” I pleaded that my intention was to have a look at the layout and the facilities provided, but he refused to budge. As a sudden spell of shower caught me unawares, I scurried for cover under a huge tree with ochre blooms. Sensing my predicament, a lady resident of the apartment offered help. She took me inside the complex, as a personal guest. Born and brought up in Bangalore, she owned the apartment and worked in Whitefield. She even managed to get the number of the property dealer, who helped me in selecting a house within the complex.
After moving in, a few months later I enquired about the lady who had so graciously helped me, even though we had never met earlier. Her neighbors informed that she had relocated to Gurgaon. The surprising revelation was that she moved in my previous apartment on a lower floor but in the same tower!!!
Bangalore offered me an interesting glimpse of theatre at Rang Shankara, an exciting opportunity to interact with eminent writers, a peek at several art galleries and innumerable weekend destinations like Coorg, Hampi, Ooty and Mysore. Not to forget an overnight train journey to Goa. With a diverse cosmopolitan mix, Bangalore was able to whet the appetite for personal growth and quench the thirst for self-embellishment. Nestling in the very lap of nature, cradled by the rain Gods, and blessed with rich culture and heritage, the place made me feel at home. Within a span of four years, I felt like a local, voicing opinions on dwindling water bodies, arguing with the auto-wallahs in chaste Kannada, and savoring the local cuisine.
In the past few years I made wonderful friends; friends who taught me to laugh in-spite of adversities. And then it was time to pack my bags and move on. Back to Gurgaon. I was reluctant again. I guess the place had cast its spell; subtly but surely. As I stood on my twelfth floor balcony a` la Titanic, simply inhaling the crisp Bangalore air, admiring the wind-whipped clouds, I involuntarily whispered, “I’ll miss you Bangalore.”
Once more, it was time to endure the pain of building a new life, dislocating, and emerging out of the comfort zone.