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!


kpowerinfinity said...

Good to see a post in a while. Well, as I have said earlier, if you ask people who have been away for 4-5 years, they will have a very different opinion. When I go back home now, I hardly have friends there, since most have moved out to greener pastures... and it is terribly boring. Doesn't stop me from missing home a lot of times, though.

The best part about being at home is the good food :P

Ashwin said...

From my experience, The more you move around..the more we get used to change and you eventually reach a stage when nothing surprises you any more. Even now..when I visit india after gaps of 2 or 3 years..nothing I see around me seems to take me by surprise... Kinda weird but I guess thats the way it is.

Dusty Fog said...

I lived in Mumbai for a year, and moved back to Bangalore this July. The stay in Mumbai was both the most exciting, as well as the most lonely of my life ever. It was then that I realised, for me it's the people that make a place home. I had the good fortune of working in Hyderabd for a short period of 3 months. An anglo family sort of adopted me. I never felt more at home at any point in life than during those 3 months.It got to a point where i didn't want to come back, which evidently didn't go down too well with my folks here in bangalore.
In any case, I can only hope that you have had a wonderful 12 months or so here.
You seem like an accomplished blogger.Drop by if you wouldn't mind some juvenile stuff.
Oh, and i always wanted to be a scribe myself...!!!
one last thing, do you not think it is sort of being ungrateful to the city you are in, when you profile states, "Mumbai", unless you ahve gone back there...: ) When i was in Mumbai, my profile read, "Mumbai", and now it's changed...guess eventually, however cliched, "Home is certainly where the heart is"...: )
Have a lovely time in amchi Bengalooru...!!!

Shobha said...

Kpower: Yup...Home and good food go together :)

Ashwin: Ashwinnnnnnnnn :D Welcome back ;) Umm...I havent moved around havent reached that stage yet. But I empathise with you.

Dusty Fog: Welcome to my blog :) Well, thats very characteristic of Mumbai. A stranger can feel very lonely and alienated in Mumbai. It's an irony considering Mumbai is so populated. One needs to stay in B'bay for long in order to like her. B'bay slowly grows on you and you start liking the city. I have had a great time in B'lore. I have learnt so much here. Besides exploring a new city is lot of fun. Well, about me not changing my profile, its more got to do with my laziness than being ungrateful. I've been too lazy to change it.

Dusty Fog said...

Hello there - thank you for dropping by my space. i did not mean anything i have said in my comment above to be offensive....i miss mumbai at times....seriously...!!!
If you work near the M.G road raheja are, drop by for a cup of filter coffee....: )
and yes, i agree there are varied after all does take all kinds to make the world....doesn't it...guess you ahve plans for new years...enjoy madi....: )

Anonymous said...

gettin here after really really long....i loved this post of urs....really....

Shobha said...

Dusty Fog: Chill...No offense taken :)

Anusuya: I never knew you've visited my blog before. Glad you commented and thank you :)

Malesh Ponnusamy said...

Interesting post.
I often remember this story whenever someone misses home. I too have being a victim of having stayed away from home for toooo loooong ;-)

the sci - fi story goes like this: A spaceship leaves an over crowded earth on the look out for a habitable planet. They find one but it is not like home. The ship gets stuck and they are not able to get back.
so people end up living in the ship and completely shun away from exploring the planet. after a generation or so while the ship is still being repaired, a new generation of people go out and explore the planet. And they happen to like it though it is not like earth but still they can feel life out there. eventually the ship gets repaired and the ones who dont want to explore head back home while the rest left behind feel at home :)

Eventually home is where the heart is and if you have the adaptability attitude, guess any place could become home ;-)

After seeing a series of blogs talking about missing home, just coming to imagine the plight of a refugee on an alien land with no means of survival and no place to go back as home!