It’s been almost 3 weeks since I returned from home. Now with all the goodies from home finished and the empty packets in the bin, homesickness is slowly starting to creep it’s way back in. Little everyday things are all that are needed to trigger off a string of memories and start the waterworks!
They say you can take a person out of the city but you can’t take the city out of the person. I’m a city girl through and through; I revel in the chaos, the noise and everything else that comes with a city. Having been brought up in Bangalore I’ve seen the city go from the Garden city with a pleasant climate to the IT capital of India with a serious traffic problem. I’ve done more than just watch Bangalore evolve, I’ve lived the evolution. As a kid, Bangalore was just the city I lived in. I saw the city through my parent’s eyes. I hated leaving the city during the holidays but I always thought the hatred stemmed from my dislike of port of destination rather than the sadness of leaving the city behind. I never gave more thought to the city or what it meant to me.
But as I got older, the vision started to shift and suddenly there was so much more to see. Or may be it was always there but I could only see what was pointed out to me. But as I grew, so did the city around me. It was changing just the way I was and somehow it provided a sense of comfort. There was nothing said nor done but a strong bond was forged. One of understanding, security and mostly the sense of belonging – the feeling of home. The city stopped being just the place I lived in and became so much more. A friend, confidant and refuge. I was dead tired from the long journey home this time, but the moment I stepped out of the plane, all the fatigue just vanished! Just the Bangalore International Airport board was enough to make my heart swell up like a giant balloon! Nothing beats that feeling of homecoming, the sense of belonging and home that you experience.
My mum grew up in a small town and moved to Bangalore once she was married. She could never understand the appeal the city held for me. For her, the city was big, crowded and chaotic. She couldn’t understand how you could live without knowing everyone around you. She found the pace of the city rapid and the people too weird. It was almost a weekend ritual for her and I to debate about which was better. Needless to say Bangalore always won! I don’t know why but I always have this inexplicable urge to prove the city is amazing. I can’t stand the thought of hearing something bad being said about it. You’d get a stronger reaction from me for insulting the city than you would from insulting me. And then there’s the fact that I mindlessly hate anyone who doesn’t like the city.
For me, being Bangalorean is a big part of who I am. It’s one of the things that defines me. The city has the same contribution in making me who I am today as my family and school. For a long time after I moved to Aachen I pondered over the deep sense of homesickness I felt. I would speak with my family everyday, most days over Skype. Talk to almost all my friends but the sense of loneliness never left me. I felt strangely displaced and out of my element. Like a fish out of water. Only once I went back for vacation did I realise that it was the city that I missed. No one understands why I’m so attached to the city. Frankly I don’t either. But I just adore it!
When you miss your friends and family, you call them, email them or skype with them. And once you’ve spoken to them you always feel much better. But what do you do when you miss the city? Now I know most people will wonder what I miss about Bangalore. The traffic? the pollution? When I lived in Bangalore I constantly grumbled about the traffic and the amount of time it took me to get somewhere, about how I had to plan my day around my travel time. But now, I actually miss it. The time I spent in traffic usually let me catch up with my friends. On the off day that I was traveling alone I got to think, some much needed time for myself. Everyone complains about the noise and chaos but to me it’s comforting. Maybe it because I’m loud and the noise around drowns me out but I would give anything to hear the noise than the constant silence. The truth is, once you get past the traffic, you will actually find yourself falling in love with the city.
Bangalore does not have much to offer in terms of sightseeing the way cities like Delhi or Mumbai. You have to live here and you will fall in love with it. The city has so much to offer no matter who you are, where you come from or what you want. It doesn’t require you to learn a different language or change your ways, it’ll accept you the way you are and welcome you with open arms the way no one else could. That’s the most amazing part of the city. You will always fit in. You can never be too weird or too ordinary. You won’t be judged in any way. The city will always find a place for you and some for itself in your heart.
Now when I go back, I find that I can never fall asleep. I feel too alive. Like I’ll miss out on something when I sleep. I can never get enough of the city. Any amount of time spent seems short. No matter where I go or what I see, Bangalore continues to hold a special place in my heart. No matter where life takes me, I’ll always make the time to go back. No matter where I move, what the place holds or who I meet, Bangalore shall always remain home.