When people come to know that I’m new to Chennai, the question that naturally follows is “So, how do you like Chennai?” My answer usually is “I don’t, really”. I mean, what’s there to like? It’s hot all the time. You feel exhausted all the time because of the heat. The autowalas will fleece you, given a chance (although it’s slightly better now, what with the meter finally being implemented). It’s a lot more expensive. I don’t have many friends here. I can’t speak Tamil at all. Etc etc etc.
But in my heart of hearts, I know those are just excuses.
The real reason I’m not able to like Chennai is Hyderabad. I miss Hyderabad terribly, like I’ve never missed any person before.
I miss it all the time. Most days, it’s ok. It’s just a fond memory in my mind. A mild longing, more like. It’s been a year since I bid adieu to the place, to my life there. But not a single day has passed when I haven’t thought about those five and a half years, and I let out a wistful sigh. Five and a half short years that gave me a lifetime of lessons and memories. An affair to remember.
But like I said, most days, it’s ok. Just wishful longing.
Then there are days, like today, for example, when the wishful longing makes way for a large gaping hole in my heart. A strong desire to be back there. As though, you know, I need to be there. I need to see the places and people to hang on to my sanity.
And it’s not just a longing for the place. It’s a longing for everything that the place stands for.
Freedom. Adventure. Breaking free. HCU. Midnight strolls around the campus. Love. Life. Passion. Survival. Red FM. Necklace Road station. Uncertainty of life. Heart break. Drinking and tripping on Pink Floyd and Mohit Chauhan and Gulzar and Irshad Kamil... Living alone. Friends. Soul mates. Roommates. Gulmohar Park. Kundan bagh. Old Monk. Coming home to hot yummy food. Endless conversations. Comfortable silences. Orange wall. Knowing that you’ll never be alone and friendless. That your SOS lives just across the street and hovers around you like a satellite. That if you get a craving for biryani in the middle of the night, it WILL be brought to you. I miss being my own master. Not having to bother about what to cook for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I miss reading till late into the night and watching sitcoms back to back on weekends. I even miss the MMTS trains journeys, during which i have made some life-changing decisions. I miss cracking PJs and talking nonsense; nonsense that will be reciprocated with bigger nonsense and not sense and logic. I long to sit on the terrace with Prusty and Pattanaik, watching the moon and singing ‘chand wale gaane’. I miss my comrades and the companionship.
I miss the life that was and never will be again. Because according to some stupid prophet, life has to move on. Whatever.