It has been three years to my professional career. Three years to an independent life. Three years to finding and losing the great love. Three years of a beautiful relationship which has hurt as much as it brought happiness. Three years to living a childhood dream.
I have lived in three cities in the last four years of my life, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi, Kolkata is obviously home. I have this tremendous love and yearning for Bangalore and the love is there for all to see. Hyderabad was the only place where I have lived for less than a year, 4 months to be precise, yet it will be the only place I love as much as I hate, I yearn but I can’t bring myself up to revisit. Hyderabad, the start of something new, the city which gave me so much yet the phase so beautiful and painful that I can never really bring myself to love it with abandon as I do to Bangalore.
As I type, Udaan is put on the playlist. This is one movie which has struck home at so many levels, the lyrics were something I clung on to when I was embarking upon a very important phase of my life. I was starting my career, I got a big break, I had triumphed a dark phase in my life so I was ruthless, ambitious and adamant to make it on my own. More than anything, I was going to live my dream, a career and a house of my own.
Baba had gone to settle me down for the first week. We stayed at a hotel the first evening that we reached. I remember updating my Facebook account with the current city I was going to call home, from a small hotel room, with my window overlooking the old Hyderabad streets. Dread filled me and I almost choked. I could not bring myself to tell Baba, let’s go home, I can’t do this. Instead we went house hunting that evening and then again the next morning. By noon I had seen my new office, found a home and by end of that day, we had shopped for almost everything we required to set home.
First day at work was fun, I met someone who went on to mean the world to me in the next month or so but then I had no way of knowing it then. I asked this colleague ‘what is the process of resigning?” this on the first day of my first job, this colleague turned out to be my Unit Head, yes I was as crazy as that, by the way, that colleague and me are now the best of friends. Dad left in a week, I had almost settled in. While I was making progress in a new life I was leaving behind a very essential relationship which used to mean the world to me. Now that I look back may be a part of me wanted to give up because I could not deal with anything less than perfect and after 7 years of trying I did give up and walked away without a backward glance. As I willed myself to move on, work harder, learn new things, without me knowing a lot of changes were coming about. All the childish, naïve, silly notions fell apart and from a young girl I was transforming into a lady. Under unintentional loving eye, I was molded, nurtured into a woman. I worked hard, learned so much at work, that awe and admiration for someones knowledge tipped me over without me even knowing. It was as though the entire universe was conspiring, and the cautious person I was, suddenly assumed a new form; overnight I was carefree, spontaneous, I loved fiercely, I gave without abandon, I learnt amorously and I knew the world was mine.
For the first time in my life I was not cautious, I was playing with fire but it did not perturb me. I was just flowing freely. It was as if I was water and I took the shape of the vessel I was poured into. I remember feeling sick because I just would not let myself sleep, I was so scared that my dream will be over, literally, that I stayed up all night just to recount what happened. Every little thing, that took place, be it a random conversation, an eye contact or a brush of hands. I thought it over and over again. I fell in love with an intelligent mind, eyes that soaked in every information, that look of intense concentration as the mind processed the information, the furious typing. Evenings were spent at Hussein Sagar frolicking, the breeze swept my hair away as I lost myself in admiration of the ‘Ideal' I had grown up loving but was told he does not exist. Time would fly, work would pile up and I would be reduced to hoping, praying for the moment to last. During those moments spent at a CCD or a MacDs, those long walks because money was sparse, there were not too many places to go and the desire to spend some more time tore us apart. Not even once during that time did it occur to me that I was opening up my life, myself and my soul to something to change irrevocably. It would be later, much later, when I would see a train pull away for the reality to sink in, the great love was not for keeps, it was never meant to be. I aged several years at that moment. To me that was an end of life.
I had no recollection of the next one month that passed. How I lived? How I worked? What happened? What I ate? I had no recollection what so ever. I knew that my parents trusted me enough to let me be in a new city so I had to remain alive. At 23 life suddenly lost all meaning. I had to get away from the city, I had to get away from the memories, even tears could not wash away the pain. And I did get away in a month flat. I found a new job, I resigned and got away from the city brushing aside angry tears ripping me apart. If I have ever wanted to do anything at that moment was just lie there somewhere and cry myself to death but I had a life to lead and move on because that was what was expected of me. So that is exactly what I did, without thinking. As my train pulled away towards Bangalore, I left behind myself, a naïve lil girl that I was when I first came to the city, I had aged years since then and that part of me has been severed with precision, love has fueled the desire to live, to love some more, hurt beyond imagination and trudge along.
Hyderabad as I look back is my utopia, where smiles had a reason, happiness meant sharing a colddrink with two straws with the loved one.Bread, butter and bhujiya was the most delicious dinner I have had ever had because it was fed to me lovingly, lack of money was the least of our concern. Morning chai at a nearby tea stall, was how I began my day. Work was fun, as I looked up from work to see the eyes of a loved one lost in thought. Evening strolls at Hussein Sagar with wind whipping my hair on my face which ever so lovingly was brushed aside, those 5 rupee ice creams and the silent holding hands compensated for the lack of communication…
Hyderabad, I may not say this enough, but you are an intrinsic part of my being and will always be.. you taught me love, love that kindles the soul and makes this life worthwhile. I will always be indebted to you. May be someday I will come back to you, to reminisce, the beautiful times this wonderful city that gave me, I found Love at unlikeliest of places and time. Someday when it will hurt less I will come back.. I know I will.. I have a lot of forgiving to do in the mean time.. but come back I will, even if to just make peace.