Tuesday, February 06, 2007

living and leaving

The thing about having spent your childhood in a small town is that a sort of indelible identity, a signet, is left on your persona. This thing just pops up time and again like a turtle’s head.

Right now, I wish I were home, throwing out buckets of dirty rainwater. Come the monsoons and our house would be flooded on at least two or three occasions with a mixture of rain and drain water. And then all of us would get together with buckets, trousers rolled up, saarees folded, working in a frenzy. Sometimes, if we were lucky we would catch a fish or two. Mostly, kowoo maacha (Sadly, I don’t know its Hindi or English name).

I’m glad I lived in a small town for as long as did. Only then could I come out and appreciate the difference. It suprises me why we want to travel abroad, especially when we have seen so little of India. There’s a vibrancy, so unmistakable, in every nook and corner. As a part of the huge migrant populace that shifs jobs, hopping from here to there, but does not care to belong to the places it stays at, I have the chance to see things somewhat objectively, rather than be disinterested and stay as an outsider in my country of birth.

There’s so much to see. In Bandra, the other day, I eat the heavenliest malai ice-cream, then walk past ancient houses (like Sir Dorabji Tata's), with a burial ground in the middle of a residential place, into a small building that houses 5 theatres at once. It isn’t a multiplex; far from it actually. I then understand why the place is called "getty." Gem, Gemini, Glamour, Gossip, and Gaiety. English Gaiety is Indian getty. Like as a child what I used to hear as "septi pin" (safety pin) and "salu tape" (cello tape). Indian twists to English legacies.

The one screening “Flags of Our Fathers,” Gem, is no bigger than a spacious drawing hall. It is so cosy, like a Sunday afternoon movie at a friend’s. In the same complex, a Bhojpuri film is being screened (I forgot its name!). The guy beside me, on phone, in fluent English, schedules a meeting with a client in Bangalore and the one to my right speaks crass Bambaiyya Hindi. And both of them aren’t really disparate; just a similar kind of people caught in different situations. We, as Indians, stand for this dispersal within. An expanse of defining traits encompassed within each entity.

Where do I belong to? My fealty lies with finding this out. Nothing else is as riveting, as worth it. The other day, I bought a Lonely Planet guide to India and went to a recommended restaurant for lunch, book in hand. The lady opposite me, a firang, was leafing through the same tome. Both of us smiled at each other in the shade of a common ignorance, a shared zeal to discover. I realized then that I have as much to explore, more maybe. Because this is my country, and it is not enough if I just know it like any tourist with a travel book.

13 comments:

zero7d said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
himanshu said...

baba!! read ur blog for the first time .. have read the last few blogs have loads of work but could not resist reading on.will cover the rest pretty soon... good shit i say... and ya .. we saw a tiger at the sunderbans... and i can swear it wasnt the mentally disturbed suhas k..

Ravi Heda said...

i share the same thoughts man... we dont care to belong to where we stay, always think of whats better outside the country

Anonymous said...

i loved it!
if each one of us can decipher where we belong and what's are ulitmate objective in life... half of our problems will vanish.
We need to learn to switch gears from localised identity to global identity as per the situation.In each role we must know our lines well.
We always crib about the fallacies in the country and play the blame game but forget that we are equally responsible for the state we are in today. Be it the economic boom or the poor state of farmers... As the cliché goes, one of the great things about India is that for every accurate statement you make about the state of affairs in our country, the exact opposite is also equally true.
If we want any changes to happen we need to take responsibility... how? well, for a shubh aarambh 'START VOTING'.
Yuvragi

PritS said...

What say, we work for some time, save some money and then do a backpacking trip in India. One like these firangs do.

I have always lived in small villages and towns. And trust me, I relished the life there only after coming to Bangalore. Now everytime I go there, I learn new things about life. Its hard toil out there.

Beauty of villages and towns is in the simplicity which people in big cities consider a crime. I simply love it now.

Though I still can not think about living full time there. But yes, exploring them, for a small duration, I am game for that.

Anonymous said...

Dude..Kasargod rocks!!

Suhas said...

that was me in the last comment, excellent stuff man. How is your book coming along ?
-suhas

satyajit said...

Bora: thanks..and ya i heard abt yr tiger episode..must have been awesome

Heda: I know so much to see..currently, I'm working on some travel write-ups on plces across the world for a travel portal..There are so few Indian cities in the list..WE've so much to offer and yet even we don't realise that

Pj: I'm truly excited abt any such thing..but I do it all the time these days..Bombay is an encyclopedia

Suhas: Hey Tiger, good to hear from you..Thanks for the nice comments..book's now got a pace of its own..steady types

satyajit said...

Yuvragi: Oh, I forgot u!! and yes I'm quite ashamed that I'm not part of the suffrage..but I've never been home long enough..next time for sure..

Anonymous said...

Please Fwd the link for the travel portal when it gets published .
-suhas.

SUCHARITA ROY said...

good one...i am sure your travel work up will come out great...there are too many places that arent marked..too many beauties that remain hidden or wasted i here..too much of paradise to look outside the geographical boundaries. if someone can find out that definiton for himself/herself ..its heaven. nothing is worse than not to know what one doesnt want to become. good luck mariner!! bon voyage!!!

nowheregirl said...

found ya

Ruchika said...

Lovely post! I don't know of any time when I did such a quintessential thing like going to an old theatre place for watching a regional movie!

I liked the way you ended the post.. that its not enough if we know our country as a tourist.. we have to soak it in and live it, literally..