March 3, 2016

A City and a Sigh - Arinjoy Sur

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Afternoons are the best part of a Hyderabad day. Like a light blanket worn softly in a not-so-cold night, it hides the sun rays for the time giving residents an opportunity to walk out and enjoy a stroll. Moments such as these also give us the much needed time for some soul searching.

Migration from Calcutta has become so widespread that no one questions it anymore. Lack of opportunity, better infrastructure and so much else. But still, if you pore over the internet, you will find hundreds of writings waxing lyrical about the Calcutta experience. They get away from the city but they always carry a part of it with them. For staying in a city which has seen you in the days when you were young and foolish, is not easy. The city has seen you when you lacked confidence but never let that bother you when somebody needed help. For that city taught you somewhere that nice guys have their own place in this system. Probably that city will refuse to recognize the confident man in his office armour dictating terms to the world. Probably the city will look for the confused soul searching the meaning in all the wrong places but still searching nonetheless. Lack of that spirit will bother her and the confidence that borderlines arrogance will surely not make up for it.

Hyderabad is not a heartless city. It most certainly is not impersonal. But somewhere I believe that in your  lifetime, there can be only one city which you can call your own. It does not matter whether you spent enough time there or whether you are investing in a matchbox in Rajarhat (for investment purposes). It matters that when you see something nice in any city of the world, you wish something similar for that city you call home. Seeing the political and social conditions, you understand that probably the dream will remain only so, but some part still hopes against all odds. For it’s not only the city that owns you, you also own a part of the city. Like the child who believes that her mother will take her to office along with her. Neither history, nor logic offers any credibility, but we do the same for our city.  

And then we start setting our old city up in the new city that we have arrived at. With the pieces that we have carried over, we put them together and try building a city out of it. A bit of vernacular chitchat, shared passions of literature and sports and an overarching sense of shared destiny provide the adhesives for creating a community. But it never becomes the old one. For to become old, you need history. You need that lane which will remind you of a certain someone, you need that shop from where you have purchased things you are not old enough to purchase, you need that old school teacher who still remembers  you along with your roll number. These stories stay wherever they are, pristine and smiling. They never followed you. They will never do. In boardrooms and meetings and in pointless small talks when you feel exasperated they will probably peep from a corner of your mind and will bring a wry smile on your face. For though the old city has not moved in the new city,  she has unselfishly given a part to you to be carried over and remembered.

The tap on the shoulder suddenly wakes you up from the reverie. The 20-something from the tea stall next to you is nudging you to finish the tea and offering you your customary round of smoke. In an earlier conversation he told me about his house in the outskirts of Patna, of his younger brother who is now a proud government employee, of his kids who read only in English. He was happy that he took the decision to come to Hyderabad.

Cities give, cities take away too :)

Author - Arinjoy Sur is a banker by profession presently posted in Hyderabad. A chemistry graduate his passion for writing bank exams landed him to this job. in his leisure time he loves to read, travel around the country & experiment with his taste buds.

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