Romancing Cities

I share a unique relationship with every city I ever lived in. My stay in cities are like love affairs. Having a beginning, a story and an end. Some gave me warmth, some kept treating me like a strangers. Some forced me the leave them when I needed them the most, for some I am always happy that I manage to escape.

There are incidents, deja vu, smell, memory that still takes me back to those cities. The Punjabi auntie screaming from the rooftop takes me to Delhi’s Rajouri Garden. Stuffed lanes, with houses on both side will invariably make me remember Jia Sarai. Guragon comes to memory while visiting any damn mall. A rangoli outside the home is hyderabad’s bookmark in my memory browser. Banglore for the cheating of autowallahs, Jasmine smell and splendid wheather. A moment of relive after a overly suffocated public transport ride takes me back to mumbai, locals,Leopold cafe and bhutta on mariene drive. Kolkata for staunch comments, sweets, fish, durga puja madness and communism.

Kanpur is my mother. You love, knowing all that is not good. Defense estate – Armapur still warms my memory. The city where you attain you puberty, always allows you to confide in her. For you had shared many secrets with the roads, trees, walls of that city. You had dream your own life in faces of people around you. And that is why when you now analyze your life you refer those faces back. Those faces remains in your success, failure, celebration and moment of grief. Kanpur saw me growing, failing, trying. It was with me in my journey of knowing what life is. Not that I know it now, but I had shared my theories with Kanpur while riding my scooty and speaking in the air. Kanpur must be looking at me now and smiling , for it knows how horribly wrong I was with my hypothesis around life.

I met Delhi, as an educated, unemployed lady. It saw me talking to its road riding in a DTDC bus from Anand vihar to South ex. Buying chaat, gulping pani puri, shopping on Janpath in midst of  small time jobs and interviews to Gurgaon and NCR. Metro was still on paper that time. The city that witnesses you struggling knows your depest secrets and remains your best friend. That is why, even after 5 year when I visited Delhi again, I picked up the conversation just where I left it 5 years back. Delhi knows my over enthusiasm like a mad cow in streets of Daryaganj, Chandni chowk and palika bazzar. Once I told Delhi, someday I will fly above your sky, do remember to look upward and say bye to me. Delhi does that, in everyday flight from Kolkata to Pune, via Delhi.

Hyderabad is that friend of mine, who heals after break up. It offers you all things essentials, a nice hair cut on Jubilie hills, splendid food on banjara hills, a nice paying job to keep you engage and spoil you with money. Button idly on Minerva, fresh free coconut paste in Chutneys, Haleem in Ramzan, birayani in Paradise. Hyderabad treated all my senses. I watched my best of movies, read best of books and fall in love. Yes, all thing essentials as i told you. Hyderabad witnessed the glee in me. When you are happy, you strike a relationship with you solitude. Its no longer a loneliness, it a spacious time to imagine. Hyderabad saw me superficially imagining every time I took the train to eat street or rode a bus to Secunderabad. Hyderabad knew I am going to get married soon. I felt that sadness between us. Hyderabad was loyal, a good friend. For keeps, as you may say. I almost packed hyderabad in my bags while leaving for Pune. A part of it is still with me. Talks to me in Urdu mannerism and Telugu slang.

I married Pune. Immense love, eternal romance, dispute out of nowhere, bruised ego, final patch-up. All of it happened, in the lovely weather and awkward naming places. I got so much engaged to this city, that I can almost be your yellow pages. I appreciated Pune to my relatives, bitched about it to my friends.Like a real wife. At the end, I have been loyal to Pune. Pune serves me just right. Affection has been mutual.

I am all, that these cities have made me. I let them change the way I construct my image around cities, they in-turn taught me the art to romance them.


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