Two Cities I’ve Loved

Harshaman’s Stories talk about feeling the tug between two places – one that feels like home and one that is dutifully home. It took me back to my own crossroads when I was the age he is at now.

Freshly minted adult in a dirty metropolis, I was charmed by the fresh bloom of the garden city. It was the turn of the millennium and Bangalore was growing up from its staid retirement home roots, wide-eyed as I was, about an exciting future. I really wanted us to be together. It seemed Bangalore did too. The pollen never hurt my allergies, the boys loved me and in a gentler way than I had experienced. The accent sat easy on my ears and didn’t grate like the warring political tones of Bombay/Mumbai. Bangalore had coffeeshops that served internet. And pubs that played Pink Floyd. It was flowers, cigarettes, love poetry & rock music, a brave new world, a brand new me.

I tried, I really did. But the year of reckoning, I caught a flu in the Bangalore weather. The city had no jobs for me. Friendships turned sour. I found myself standing in the rain, as sick as the monsoon I knew from what I had left behind. At that time, Mumbai threw me a lifesaver. A job. A career. A purpose. A network. A blog. An identity. A life.

I had to make peace with my broken dreams. I had to come to terms with a failed life story. I had to align with a me very different from what I’d imagined. I had to return defeated, to the hard city I had kicked away. Mumbai is never kind but it is always generous. Those were the paths that led me to love the island city.

I have never forgotten the garden city at the turn of the millennium. Mumbai will never be that and even Bangalore is not that any more. But loving one taught me about myself and learning to love the other brought me to my self.

 

 

 

One comment

  1. Lines that spoke to me

    • Harshaman’s Stories talk about feeling the tug between two places-one that feels like home and one that is dutifully home. It took me back to my own crossroads when I was the age he is at now

    And maybe younger idea smith be sitting on a bench little discouraged not knowing what to do next? Or where to go next? It’s also equally fascinating to think that when you time travel and go back to meet yourself, what would you tell the younger you. I bet it would be an interesting, hopeful conversation.

    • Freshly minted adult in a dirty metropolis

    • I really wanted us to be together. It seemed Bangalore did too

    • The accent sat easy on my ears

    • Bangalore had coffeeshops that served internet

    • It was flowers, cigarettes, love poetry & rock music, a brave new world, a brave new me

    • The city had no jobs for me

    Its fascinating how we are drawn to place like water going down in a sink

    • At that time, Mumbai threw me a lifesaver. A job. A career. A purpose. A network. A blog. An identity. A life

    How certain cities shape our lives, how certain cities shape ourselves

    • I love the little pieces of magic, we experience in cities and on the internet. Fleeting intimacies. Flash kinship. Bite-sized sharing. Byte-sized caring

    City dwellers know the pain of never having roots but never growing wings either. And today internet is just one big city

    And I’ll tweet you a poem that will make you cry. One single tear

    • Everyone’s welcome except loneliness

    • I turn into a teenager around you

    Except I was an unpopular kid, awkward and diffident. And you were nice to me. You treated me as if I was just like you. A cool kid

    You saw me twenty years ago, the way I am with the world today. A cool adult that turns into a giggly teen at the memory of a guy who was nice to her

    I haven’t really changed since you changed me by seeing me that way

    • Mumbai is never kind but it is always generous

    • Mumbai will never be that and even Bangalore is not that any more

    The place we chose today maybe a green land today, but a desert tomorrow, and a desert may become a green land tomorrow

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