I’d posted this note on my Facebook profile on May 11th, 2012 after completing a year in Pune, the city I moved to for pursuing my bachelor’s degree.
The pin-board beside my desk is now cluttered with memories worth almost a year. Ticket of the first movie I saw after coming here, random sticky notes from my roommate and other seemingly trivial stuff. And then of course there are the intangible memories.
You are a city of spirit. But I arrived here dispirited. I loved my home way too much. I still do. I wondered if you will ever feel familiar, ever feel my own. You did not intimidate me; you’re not that kind of a city. I was just not too fond of change. You tried your best; comfortable weather, good food and an unapologetic way of life. But I was still homesick. With time came a harsh realization. I won’t be home for a long time. Thus, I began to realize your worth. I realized I should give you a chance. You were, after all, the start of a new phase in my life.
Since then, you’ve been the city of discovery for me. As funny as it sounds, here, I’ve discovered Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Dubai; the list too long to complete. I’ve discovered through people, their culture, their language, their food, their lifestyle and their knowledge. And all of it has amalgamated into one, within you.
One year, and I have met all kinds of people, unbelievably talented, unbelievably dumb and irritating, sarcastic, rude, weird, hot, nice, random, like-minded, cute and what not. Not that there weren’t people from where I come from, but you have given me a whole new perspective all together. You’ve have brought out the best in people, and worst.
I haven’t explored you much; my hostel room has been my quiet haven, and I’m not proud of it. I know you’re ready to welcome me, and I know it won’t take me long to fall in love with you. One thing I liked about you right away was how your ambiance is dynamic yet laid back at the same time. I have been lazy, I’ve been ignorant and I haven’t made the most of you. There’s so much more to you than just eating out or watching movies or shopping or clubbing.
My spirit is returning, as sense of belonging is slowly setting in. After a stretch of silence, the words are coming back. The curiosity, the sense of adventure, the laughter, the urge to open up to the world, I must say, you managed to get to me.
I can’t wait to embrace you with all my heart! I can’t wait for the time when your streets will no longer be strange to me and when I’ll refer to you as my own. They say, “Home is where the heart is”, and I hope soon enough, I will look at you as my second home, if not home itself. There are two more years to go, and who knows, even more. One thing’s for sure; I’ll instinctively defend you, always. I guess you have that effect on people.
Today, what I can say is that when I go back home, I’ll miss you. I’ll want to return, and that’s saying a lot. My family photo still stands on my desk, and I now look at it less often, not because I love them any less but because I’ve found another thing to love!