memories

Perks of living in a small city

As a child, I moved around a lot due to my father’s job. I have lived in metro cities and towns which had only recently upgraded from being villages I suppose. One such town was Lalitpur, also my little sister’s birthplace. So you could ask me, “Are there actually any perks of living in a small city?” And I would judge you and give you a look of pure horror because trust me there can be nothing better.

So here it goes: the first pro is that you know everyone and everyone knows you and when you are a child, there is nothing better than being pampered by every other person on the street. The people are kinder and more friendly and you can get things done your way because well, everyone is a friend.

All your school friends live close by and meet you every evening because everyone in the town goes to the same school, because the town has only ONE school. HAHA! I even had some teachers who went on to become family friends and I could just skip doing Home Work and get away easily.

The houses are bigger and better, the living conditions are great, everything is cheaper in general and the quality of living is good as well. I lived in a huge house rented by two tenants and the landlord lived on the first floor as well. All our families were close knit and we literally spent every waking moment together – playing or chatting or eating at each other’s houses. Ah, the joys of living together. Apartments suck!

Wherever you wanna go, it isn’t too far. Agreed, that there aren’t many places to go to within the city but then there are always touristy places within 100 kms of every city in India, I think. I could be wrong, but that has never happened to me.

I have had my share of living in villages and even tinier towns and it has always been a pleasant experience. Apart from the frequent electricity cuts, it always feels like a retreat. Its even better when its home away from home.

Life was fun and carefree and living in the hustle bustle of Mumbai, makes me miss those places. I never went back to visit once I left that town. I really want to go and see how much it has changed and if it really has? Because some things never do. 🙂

 

Dussehra

When I was a little girl, every Dussehra I used to visit my Grandparents’ house. The festive season was celebrated in all its glory in the village. There was a local Ram-Leela held by the children of the village. My Grandmother used to give me 10 rupees to spend in the fair and I used to be so happy about going there with my uncle. I used to think about how I will spend my 10 rupees the whole day and then when I finally reached the fair I could never make up my mind. I usually ended up buying something stupid every time. I remember watching the Ram-Leela with what you would call pure amazement – the songs and the costumes, the lighting and of course the Raavan-Vadh in the end.

This year on Dussehra, I was on my way to Kasol and when I heard the sound of festivities, I was instantly reminded of this memory and yes, I made a note to write about this later. Right now, while I watch the movie “Inside Out”, I look at the way they portray the working of brain and memories and it all seems plausible. My own Joy, bringing up a memory from deep down the Memory Lanes. While my Sadness brings back the Nostalgia of those carefree childhood days. I wish I could go back and yet stay here. Life is full of such dilemmas ain’t it?

Kasol Revisited

Day 1 – 21st October

I make my journey from JNU to North Campus, to meet the people who are going with me. Our bus leaves at night from Majnu ka Teela. It is a little awkward since I have met most of these people for the first time. At night everyone packs and we leave after a delicious dinner of homemade khichdi. We wait for the bus, it keeps getting delayed but it finally arrives. And the journey towards Parvati Valley begins.

Day 2 – 22nd October

Almost half the day had passed until we reached our destination but the journey was beautiful, with mist floating down the valleys when the sun began to appear. There were tall trees and I knew we had reached when there was an evident chill in the air. Our hungry souls directly made way towards Cafe Bhoj. We ate to our heart’s delight and then looked for a hotel. After getting some rest, we decided to have a bonfire and we started walking towards the campsite with torches in our hands to ward off the eeriness that the mountains possess by default. We reached the riverside where we sat on a round table and talked and laughed and drank and smoked. Then we walked closer to the river, so close that our voices were drowned by the sound of the flowing water. It was cold, very cold and the fire didn’t do much in warding it off. It was finally time to sleep.

Day 3 – 23rd October

I woke up before everyone else, except S. The first thing to do was take a bath and dry your hair in the mountain sunshine. We had delicious lunch consisting of schnitzels, falafels, lafas, oreo shakes, ginger-lemon-honey tea, etcetera. We then made our way towards a place called Chalal but were never able to reach it. Instead we found a place beyond the bridge, among the rocks where hot steam rose like mist from mountains and I wasn’t afraid of feeling cold again. The moon was high in the sky, all around us there were mountains – snow capped. And even when nothing was visible, the snow was shining bright, reflecting the moonlight. The rushing pristine water of the river, threw up water droplets which shone like diamonds when they caught moonlight or light from a torch held by a passerby on the bridge. My words can never do justice to what I saw that night.

(The night was spent deciding who wanted to stay for one more day. 4 of us decided to stay back and then 3 hours were spent cancelling and booking tickets)

Day 4 – 24th October

Yet again, S was the first one to wake up and we once again made our way towards Chalal after everyone left post a hearty lunch. This time it wasn’t our lucky day. The police caught us but let us go without much hassle. We went to Jim Morrison cafe and the sandwiches there were to die for. The trek was totally worth it. I was too happy to register much. Happy because it was Kasol, for another day. Once you go there, you never want to leave.

Day 5 – 25th October

We went to Magic View Restaurant, didn’t really have the patience to look at the view because I was too tired from all the climbing. Who wants to work on a vacation anyway. This vacation was so much different from the last time when I was all sober and the weather was not so good. This time the water had completely changed its color and you could almost see the water-bed. It was a “good trip”. Can’t wait for the next one. Will put up the pictures soon.

Day 6 – 26th October

Back to Delhi. It was like some other world. Definitely not a good one after the serenity of the Valley. Well, all good things come to an end.

Home is where the Heart is

So I am all done with my documentary on the M-ward of Mumbai. More about that later. For many days I have been planning to write on all the places I have lived in.  After reading Varun Grover‘s article, I was finally really inspired to do the same. So here’s a short personal account of all the places where I have had a temporary home in! 🙂

VARANASI

I was born in the city of Temples and Ghats. I was too little to remember anything but I have since visited it twice and it’s a beautiful city if you want to laze around and just sit at the ghats and read a book. The city in itself is a madhouse, too much traffic and too many people. But that is the beauty of old cities. There is a mix of culture and modernity that you just cannot find anywhere else. I have somehow always been kind of proud that I was born there because of it’s rich cultural heritage. Now, when I pass through the areas where we lived earlier, my parents point out those places to me, the place where I was born, the place where they came to have lunch every weekend, the temple they visited on their birthdays and so on.

KANPUR

So my next stop was Kanpur where I spent 7 years and changed 3 schools and 2 homes, as far as I remember. I made a lot of friends, my memories of which are really vague now. I am obviously not in touch with any of them anymore, but I do remember that I was close with a lot of them! Now a relative of mine lives in the same locality and it beings back so many memories. I was a single child back at that time and the games I played at that time alone, the swing in my porch and the bees that stung me, the neighbours I had and the cricket matches my uncle took me to, the mix tapes we made and the terrace without the railing, the diwali with my cousins, the hiding in the cupboards, the fun I had in dusting the corridors and then riding my bicycle (with stoppers) there, the rickshaw that came to pick me up every morning and the dreaded swimming classes, the hatred for school and love for cable TV, the visits to relatives’ houses and meeting and forgetting people, the sweets that Grandpa bought everytime he visited and the dosa place he took me to, near my house. Omg, I miss Kanpur. Now when I go back, I hate it, because of the crowd and the pollution and zero traffic sense. But now that I sit and reminiscence about it, those were beautiful days. The days of carefree childhood.

LALITPUR

Lalitpur is a quaint little town near Jhansi, and it is also close to maternal home, while Kanpur was close to my paternal home. My sister was also born there. I lived there for 2 years. My memories of that place are mostly of my neighbours, with whom I spent most of my time. We used to play all evening until it got dark. It was also the time when everyone had those video game consoles and I had one too and it was also the time when I watched Nickelodeon for the first time and went gaga over it, the first time when I made a best friend, Divya, only to lose her in a year, the first time I stayed with another family, all by myself, because my mother was in the hospital during her pregnancy. There was a guest house next to my home, which belonged to a relative. The garden was open to use for all and that is where I learnt to ride a bike.

BANGALORE

This was a major shift. We had shifted from a town to a metro city. The energy was crazy and so was life. I was juggling between classes and computer classes, book clubs and extra co-curricular activities and ace-ing everything except academics. There was a library right behind my house which  I unfortunately found out too late, there was a Punjabi Restaraunt near our house which made the most amazing shahi paneer ever. My father took us to new places every weekend and we travelled like crazy – to Tirupathi, Nilgiri, Ooty, Munnar, etc. I went to this amazing book club where they gave us cold drink and cake at the end of every session. I found some of my friends from those days on FaceBook.  Those two years were undoubtedly the best years of my life. I often wish that we had never shifted, but apparently my parents didn’t like living so far away from their own families so we had to come back to North India. Now, I think to myself, that maybe I did the right thing by shifting because I feel that Bangalore had given me what I needed in terms of developing my personality, but had I stayed, I couldn’t have fought for what I loved and figured out what to do in life without anything being imposed on me. It is difficult to explain, but being in Lucknow gave me much more freedom to choose whatever I wanted to do next in life.

LUCKNOW

Lucknow was a new low after Bangalore but I gradually got used to it. I have spent the maximum part of my life there and that is where home is even now. 8 years in Lucknow, and I was a grown person too, I remember almost everything but mostly I remember hating my school. In the last four years that I stayed there, I made some really good friends and that is the only redeeming fact about that school. All in all the city is a great place to live in. It gives me respite from the rush of the big cities I go back from every holiday.

DELHI

I had entered college and was living in the Hostel, a much different home than any I had lived in before. It was a big, bad city and I was a little girl. With time it grew on me and I began falling in love with the freedom I had got for the first time in my life. This thirst for freedom just became bigger and that is how I moved on to the next city.

MUMBAI

My present home, one year in a flat and this year in a Hostel. Mumbai has given me the freedom I could have only dreamt of, friends that I know I will cherish for life and memories and experiences that have made me who I am now. It’s only when you live here, that you will know why it is called the City of Dreams. Every other person is a walking and talking book, whose pages and stories will amaze you. Here I am to be another book in the library, hoping to be the one most issued and to be an inspiration for other writers. 🙂

Letters for Love/Being Unwanted (Guest Post)

Before you wonder why I didn’t title this post ‘Love Letters’ or ‘Letters of Love”, I want to explain and ask you at the same time what Love means to you? To me it means so many things, even hate, but this is a letter written for Love, not out of Love, not about Love but just for it. Make what you can of it. 🙂

Oh and also Special thanks to our writer, i.e. not me but someone who I begged to write this for me, since I have been too busy with work. And he hasn’t let me down. I love your writing, I really do. Here it goes:

BEING UNWANTED

So today, I will like to confess one of the feelings that come to me more often than others. I, for some reason, always find myself with people who are facing some crisis. With time this thing rooted deep inside me. I started feeling satisfied with the knowledge that maybe people needed me sometimes even if it was only in their moments of sorrow. Call it a lame effort to be wanted by others or an attempt to hold some place important in others’ lives. Or maybe I think too much. Someone told me that I always look for tragedies, but this is just what I have become. I don’t mind tragedies a single bit because I feel that people reveal their innermost feelings at that moment. I wish I could take those moments of closeness, the belonging to merrier times also but almost always I find myself getting sidelined for someone else who simply makes their way into lives of others when the grass is green and when they don’t have to live through autumn. Then again I start looking out for the next estranged soul. I fully agree that my life may seem tempting to others. Some people have in fact asked me that why do I even get sad, but its ingrained in me. I try to be alone at times hoping someone will ask about me.

This feeling naturally comes, when I see people enjoying with others, I find myself looking at people’s happy faces thinking it would have been so fucking amazing if I would have been the one sharing that laughter, if your smile would have started from your lips and would have stopped at my cheekbones. I always try to find a crevice in people’s conversations to an untold secret which would act like a thread that would keep us entwined forever with each other. I love to gradually fade into the background watching how people react to my absence.

You have been a great support to me amidst all the negativity. As I have said a million times, a lighthouse in the cold wild raging sea, a drop of water in the scorching heat of the desert, that last breath for which a man craves on his deathbed, those last few  of oxygen in a man’s tank on a faraway planet.

P.S. – You are the one who I believe can take me out of this perpetual turmoil. Only you have the charm.

A Reply

I think I am cast in a very different stone. I am the kind who wants to be with people in their good times and their bad. If they choose to be with me only in either one of them, then I carve out a different path for myself, far away from theirs. For me, it’s always all or nothing. The only thing I hope for is that I make you a part of all my seasons. That, I think, could be the best gift I could ever give you.

P.S. Don’t talk about lighthouses, they drive me crazy! 🙂 ❤

Journal Writing/Blog Post 50

I have been writing and maintaining a journal since I was in class seven. It has been my favourite hobby but also very infrequent, there were times when I would write everyday and times when I wouldn’t write for months. Through this blog I just wanted to continue my habit in the digital space and even though it as not as personal as I would want it to be I try my best to be as genuine as possible. Until now, I have lived up to the promise of writing one post everyday and I very proudly present here my fiftieth post!

Memories of journal writing:

There was a time when I was extremely introverted and shy. My journal used to be my best friend. It sounds sad but trust me it wasn’t. Obviously I had many more friends but some things are meant to be kept to yourself. There were times when a friend who wanted to know me better would ask me to read out from the pages of my journal and I reluctantly did so, editing bits here and there. I have definitely come a long way from there. From being so introverted and shy to someone who is ready to let it all go and to show the world who she really is.

This is just the beginning! ❤

What Perfect looks like!

Give me your memories,
I’ll put them in a jar.
I’ll mix some love
And add some happiness.

I’ll do the same
And give you a jar of mine.
Take out the thorns,
But leave some bitterness.

When we mix them together,
It would look what PERFECT looks like.

Clicked this picture ages ago. Somehow suits the lines. Yay! :)

Clicked this picture ages ago. Somehow suits the lines. Yay! 🙂