Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bangalore, Home and other musings's been one year in Bangalore. I find it difficult to believe it myself. Having never been away from home in my life before, this is a bit special for me. I never really thought I will live and work in another city. For someone who's never left home ever, this is definitely a small but a significant milestone of my life.

Bangalore was always my second home for me with some of my favourite people residing here. It used to be a regular summer vacation adda. However, nothing could prepare me for my work experience here. I realised that my work life is going to completely alter my perspective about the city. Till I came here for work Bangalore for me was my paati's house, bunch of cousins and the time spent with them.

Reporting is such an awesome way to discover a city. I now know more about Bangalore than my paati who's been staying here for the past six decades. It's fascinating when I look back at the process of discovering the city and how it slowly starting changing the way I look at Bangalore too. I was conscious about it all the time.

Well, I went home recently after 11 long months. Phew! I can't believe it myself. This has been the longest I have been from away from home. When I went home, I noticed one thing. I think majority of people living in metropolitian areas don't really leave their homes/cities. Even if people leave, they usually go abroad (A small but a significant student population).

It was such a pleasant experience for me to go back home and see not much has changed. Yea, some friends of mine have left the city, but not everyone. It would have been quite unnerving had most of my friends left the place.

This visit back home had me thinking about lot of things. What exactly is home? Is it still home only if one's parents and friends live there? Or is it home wherever they go? Will Palakkad/Patna/Bangalore (Any random city/village) be home to me if my parents shift there? Will B'bay still be home to me if all my friends leave the place? What is it about the place that makes me call it a home? It's such a complex thing. I'm trying hard to put a finger on it. If internal migration can make me think like this, I shudder to think what it might do to people who have migrated abroad.

Is it people who make me feel at home or the language or the culture or the nostalgia? Can it be called a home even when there are no known people around? Some of my friends who left for USA or other countries for further studies come back and can't relate to half of the things back home. No, I'm not referring to their snobbery here. They come back to to see that everything has changed. The cities they lived in have changed. Gallis, Nukkads, Houses have undergone major changes. Their people have left the city. They cannot relate to anything. I wonder how traumatic it will be. Will the new place or the adopted country be home suddenly? I reckon it would be a very difficult for them to consider a new place as their new home (which is only few years old) as opposed to what was home for the past 20 odd years (that doesn't exist in the same form as they remember it)... Sigh....I think when you are not a part of the changes that happen back home, it can completely alienate you.

Some of my friends who live in smaller towns feel sad about this fact. Not just smaller towns, big cities too. When they go home, they get bored too quickly since none of their friends are present. I can't imagine being bored when I go home. When I went home last month, I realised I know far too many people there. It was just impossible to meet everyone. I wanted to see everyone though.

However, I felt nice that I still had a long list of people to meet. When I was leaving for Bangalore by an early morning train, I met so many friends and acquaintances in the railway station. I was glad that I still had people whom I could say a hello to. I still found familiar faces around. I wasn't a completely nobody. People still knew me despite of my absence for almost a year. Felt very nice.

We cling to things. Most of us resist changes, including me to a large extent. I hope some things don't change. But I know my wishes are foolhardy since the only thing that will never cease to change is change itself. I think the idea of home is constantly undergoing some change or the other. I think many of us will have different homes at various stages of life. It is tough to even imagine the inevitable thing. Sigh!