Sunday, March 11, 2012

take me back

I always thought of cities as having personalities, i just never thought cities could behave like people do, sometimes.

When I left home and moved bases a few years ago, it was based on the assumption that I could come back whenever i wanted to. I moved to Mumbai and the city, she resisted me. Some things came easily but the important ones (a comfortable work life, friends, the absence of loneliness) came after I worked for those things. Every day spent in Mumbai in my first year there, I spent all my time convincing this new city that I loved her and that she could love me if she wanted to. That I couldn't promise her that I would stay forever but that I would try and make our time together work. I communed silently with her as I travelled in cabs on the hot, humid roads to and from glass buildings. I sat by Worli Seaface and Marine Drive and told her she was beautiful. i forgave her her temper on the days that I had to go to Andheri in the rains. Like all Mumbaikars, the city made me feel comfortable without making me feel welcome - till she felt she could trust me.

I fell in love with a boy from Calcutta and Calcutta behaved with me exactly as I expected the boy's mother to behave with me. I wanted a warm embrace and a great bonding from the first moment. Instead, Calcutta welcomed me with a smile and a cup of tea. But she told me that if I expected more love from her, I needed to prove that I wanted to be family to her and to her son. She made it clear to me that I couldn't expect to visit like a girlfriend does her boyfriend's apartment, without overstaying my welcome at some point. When I finally went as a bride to Calcutta, I felt that the familiarity I feel in my hometown. I know I can go back to Calcutta whenever I want to now. She won't mind. She'll even take me shopping and help me plan my time there.

But Bangalore. Is testing me now. I left her once before and now I am back but she's letting me know that I have to win her over this time. I can always come back home but I will need to find my place in my hometown again.

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