I've been meaning to put my thoughts together on this one, for really long. But for some reason, morbid poetry always beats the other ideas and ends up seeing th light of the day before others. But anyway, let's not drift again.
I love travelling. Well, technically I hate flights and have road sickness so a journey by rail is usually the preferred medium. But what I actually love is going to new places. I know traditionally, if you are in a new city, you see what it's famous for, eat what it's famous for, click what it's famous for and then go back with happy memories. I don't intend to make myself sound too cool and different for those things. I do them too, yes. But what really sticks with me is the sense of the city. Time passes by and the city becomes a faint memory with a certain background score to it. The people? Yes of course. But people come and people go and they leave you with beautiful memories too, but that's for another post, later sometime. The thing about a city is, it changes the way you feel about yourself and why maybe even someone with you.
I've lived in Madras, Bombay and Dilli. Yes, this is the way i prefer to address the 3 cities and that shall remain. Associated with each of these are hazy memories of people, incidents, experiences with a faint background score. But you know the things I see in my mind when I think of these cities? The roads. It is certainly not intentional and in fact a rather startling discovery. I see those roads with clarity, you know? And then there are colours, like Dilli is always green, Madras is yellow and Bombay just has to be red. Everytime I think of each of these cities, I go back to the way they make me feel or the person I used to be in these cities.
Dilli is home. Its where I was born, brought up and its where I came back, every time. I love and hate the city. I love the citty only little and hate the city beyond measure. But it's home. And nothing can ever take away from the first city that's your home. I love the infrastructure, the pure beauty. I've seen this city change and oh how it has changed. I love the urbanization accompanied by the history associated with it. It's the city where on my way to a monument more than 100 years old, I see spoilt teenagers driving their fathers' cars to impress another daddy's little rich girl. It's the city where women dread getting out at night alone and still the city with the prettiest roads. It's the city of loud people, unrestricted road rage and abuses and then its' the city that you can wake up and go for a long walk in the morning all by yourself. The city is beautiful. The people are a different story altogether. It's a city that spoils you and then it's a city that makes you strong. But it's a city that for all its spacious roads and lavish greenery, suffocates the hell out of me.
Madras. I lived there for 5 years and what beautiful memories that city did give me. It's my yellow. I associate the happiest period of my childhood to Madras. In a way I'm so glad I spent my early years there because it has come a long way in shaping who I am. Everytime I go back there, its only happy. I can't remember specifics ( even though I actually know my way around in the city!). It is the city with faint memories, the smell of musk and the sound of laughter- innocent, unknowing, shrill laughter. It's the city where I made my first set of "best" friends- the friends I can still write 'letters' to. It's the city of the first crush and all those fancy things bollywood movies associate with childhood. And then, my city of beaches- the city that is responsible for my love for the sea. I used to love going to the beach- and it left behind memories of just me and the water. Its overdone and cliche but for a reason- very few experiences can beat sitting in from of the sea watching the tides rise and subside and then feel the salty water on your toes and just when you being to love that feeling, the water resides only to return back later and leave you thinking, leave you wondering...
And then there is my favourite city so far- Bombay. It's my favourite of ALL the cities I've ever been to, every lived in- in India and abroad. The city is romanticized, talked about, visualized- its called the city of dream, the city that never sleeps. But, all for a good reason. There's something about that city. Even for someone as descriptive as me, I run short of adjectives to describe it perfectly. Its crammed and its crowded. It's busy and it's dirty. But why then is it so free, so liberating? That's the irony I am unable to grasp. Bombay breathes inspiration. Even in the daily tedious routine of life, I would feel so inspired. Everything about that city is worth clicking and being written about. Be it the over done Queen's Necklace or that man I saw walking in the subway- I can't remember what he looked life, but I remember him, the anger in his eyes, the urgency in his walk and the sense of fatigue on his forehead. It's a magnanimous city and crazy one at that. It's a city like no other and it will be the city I move back to eventually.
I need to live in many more cities though- for atleast a year. It's like a volleyball of sorts, but it's worth it.