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.
I so know how you feel... u must just not think, pack up and go to bangkok.ReplyDelete
I know, right..?Delete
At the risk of repeating (verbatim) my comment on another post, Chennai is home for me - and yet I don't quite understand the fuss we Chennaiites make about our hometown, much more in my opinion than others do about their hometowns - but Hyderabad is where my heart is.ReplyDelete
Like most of your posts that talk about Hyderabad, whether in passing or in detail, this one triggered plenty of memories. Thank you for that :)
And did I read that correct? Auto meters implemented in Chennai, did you say? It's one of those things that I thought would never happen within my lifetime.
Hyderabad is where a small part of my heart is too. It will always be there.Delete
What are your memories of Hyderabad? Do tell... :)
And yes, you read it right. Auto meters in Chennai. Most of them follow it. There are some, though, who behave as though I asked them to sell me their first born when I ask them to put the meter. Full scene putting only.
Here's are some memories (a full version might demand a book) in random order. Please forgive me if there are typos or grammatical inconsistencies.Delete
- Fell in love when I was in Hyderabad (with a girl from elsewhere though). Returned to Hyderabad after the break-up, and the city healed me in a matter of months.
- Discovered rum-and-coke and sambar rice topped up with generous doses of ghee at a couple of bars I frequented. (*Bliss* would be a gastronomical understatement of absurd proportions.)
- Lived a year with dad there; two bachelors (one unmarried, of course) having the time of their lives. We made our kitchen a lab, to borrow an expression from one of your posts; took long walks to Birla Mandir on Saturday/Sunday evenings; watched pointless Telugu films at every cinema hall surrounding RTC Cross roads; and discussed Hyderabad's role as a significant launchpad for both of us.
- The Himayat Nagar Minerva's basundi (that will probably get a chapter if I write a book on Hyderabad)
- Winters spent walking in and around the EFLU campus (once glimpsed a twin rainbow)
- REalised that I was fortunate to have the finest teachers to go with my fine family.
- Auto rides along the Hussain Sagar; evenings at eat street (including one on my birthday, with sis and dad around physically, and the lady around through texts)
- Met two among my (currently) dearest friends there; had my life there overlap with that of another close friend from Chennai.
- Dark Knight at IMAX.
(to be continued, don't worry will not bombard this space. :D)
Hyd is my hometown so i'll always love it no matter what. But Chennai is to me, what Hyd was to you.. in terms of Freedom, life lessons, adventures, making my own rules, discovering a new life, new people, living alone, falling in love...plus it has a beach. So that's the trump card for me :P I miss the life I had in Chennai more than the city itself..ReplyDelete
Ah yes, so you know exactly how I feel... :)Delete
And just to make you jealous, I live close to Besant Nagar beach. Just saying. :P
Looks like you really miss the past! I do too...why did things ever had to change !?ReplyDelete
Change is the only constant thing and all that jazz.. :/Delete
Every place has memories and you will make new ones in Chennai and it shall one day be "I miss Chennai with all its heat and whatever" :DReplyDelete
I hope you're right. :)Delete
This is simply superb!! You write so so well! :DReplyDelete
Thank you. :)Delete
Now I am missing KOCHI...So stuck at bhopal :(ReplyDelete
Awww. Wish you lived in Hyd now. I would have a friendly face. <3ReplyDelete
On another note, I know how it feels. I miss Bangalore, terribly.
Oh seriously man. We missed each other by just *this* much no? :(Delete
I guess.. everyone has a "Hyderabad" in his or her own life.. Wish life had a rewind button.. Wish the days were back.. Wish wish.. wish..ReplyDelete
Hey Priyanka, nice to see your comment. :)Delete
Oh ya.. if wishes were horses...
I know the feeling! The same thing happened when I moved from Bangalore to Hyderabad while I was there only for 5months. And the same thing is still happening after I moved from US to Norway. I think too short or too long time causes the trouble :) After all, it's LIFE!ReplyDelete
You're quite the globe-trotter, aren't you? :)Delete
Well, may this help you! :)ReplyDelete
That was a great read. I've read another piece by the same same writer on Chennai on an online magazine too. :)Delete
Hmm... we all wish to press that rewind or fast forward button at some point in life. But like that stupid prophet said, life has to go on, and go on it does. Beautifully written. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks da. :)Delete
We are all "cows of the same thozhuthu"
And guess what? Mom and Dad is off to Hyd today for a week long trip!
And I feel like Crap! :-/
Aww shucks! They're going to Hyd ah? :(Delete
Could relate to how you feel. Though I don't miss Hyderabad as much as you do, I feel the city formed a crucial part in transforming my life.ReplyDelete
The place was crucial for me in just so so many ways, man... It'll always be special for me.Delete
I miss Bangalore...the city which taught me how to live..... :( :( :(ReplyDelete
I don't usually read your blog-a friend sent this to me because she figured I would empathise. She was right. This is lovely.ReplyDelete
and now I miss you.. hope you doing good Divya.. :)ReplyDelete
Hey! Welcome to Chennai. We should connect. :) Chennai can be fun most times :). Understand the bit about missing the life that was. Drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org. Am a good city guide. :)ReplyDelete