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CITIES I HAVE LIVED IN AND LOVED

02 Feb

CITIES I HAVE LIVED IN AND LOVED

I grew up in Kolkata, which was Calcutta those days, then moved to Delhi for college. My working life started in Chennai or Madras as it was then called, then back to Delhi, Kolkata, Delhi, and finally I am in Mumbai now. Over time, I have learnt to love these four metros I have lived in, with their very different flavors and quirky charms. I will try to share my impressions of these cities here.

If cities could be compared to women, this is the impression I gather.

Kolkata is the ageing courtesan, captivating in her youth, now sadly past, trying halfheartedly to hold on to her old glory, not quite succeeding , but barely concealing her heart of gold behind a faux haughty façade.

Delhi as the loud, brash, nouveau riche buxom Punjabi matron, busy gossiping, plotting intrigues, flashing her unearned wealth and power, but large hearted,  full of life, living it up, boisterously enjoying all life has to offer as her due, and  generously including all comers to her party.

Chennai the prissy orthodox disapproving Amma, keeping a strict lookout on her domain, with pursed lips and forbidding expression, least anyone acts inappropriately. She is protective and feeds you healthy and filling meals.

Mumbai is an enigma. She is schizophrenic. Not sure whether she is the smart new age woman or the vociferous bai or the Parsee matriarch, she keeps switching roles, being many things to many people, but welcoming all in her tight claustrophobic sweaty sexy embrace, that absorbs you, never letting go, making you lose your original identity and becoming part of her progeny, a Mumbaikar.

First impressions of a visitor—- Kolkata and Mumbai, that of people, people, oh my god sooooo many people!!!!! Assuming you are arriving by train, whether to VT, now renamed CST in the greatest sex change operation in the world, or in Howrah, the sea of humanity overwhelms you. But in Kolkata, the Ganga immediately outside or in Mumbai, the sea a short distance away provides a relieving breath, reassuring you that you can come up for air.

If by air, both Kolkata and Mumbai scare you with the visions of the urban sprawl below, but reassure you with glimpses of the Ganga or the sea in between.

Delhi strikes you with the immense space and the threatening people, and you realize you have to battle to survive and capture those spaces, starting with the duel with the autowallahs

Flying to Delhi of course stuns you. The T3 beats the famed Changi of Singapore or many vaunted international airports, and the Airport metro outshines its counterparts in most metros in the world. No other Indian city boasts airports or metros that are comparable in luxury and efficiency.  Even the drive to the city through the octopus flyovers and Chanakyapuri  and Rajpath creates the necessary awe that the imperial capital must inspire in the native subjects.

Chennai scares you for another reason. For the first time in your own country you feel an alien. The language spoken, the signboards are all, well, Tamil to you, and getting directions is a nightmare. The shoddy airport doesn’t help. The autos outside the station are as good at fleecing as their brethren in the Capital, but do so in an incomprehensible language.

So much for first impressions. Will continue with my further studies on getting  directions, street food, morning sounds and making friends in the four cities in the weeks to come. Ciao for now

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12 Comments

Posted by on February 2, 2014 in cities, travel

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

12 responses to “CITIES I HAVE LIVED IN AND LOVED

  1. vishalbheeroo

    February 2, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Love this post. Agree with Mumbai..she was my muse, love Pune and been to Delhi..different emotions but amazing cities. Would love to visit Kolkata:)

    Like

     
    • wiseguy from the east

      February 2, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Thank you Vishal. My 1st love is Delhi as thats where I learnt about life

      Like

       
      • vishalbheeroo

        February 2, 2014 at 10:32 am

        Mine is Pune. Visited Delhi for a week and totally love it! Would love to live in Delhi. It has a soul like Mumbai:)

        Like

         
      • wiseguy from the east

        February 2, 2014 at 10:34 am

        I visit Pune regularly to give Gyan. May live there later

        Like

         
      • vishalbheeroo

        February 2, 2014 at 10:40 am

        It’s a beautiful place to live..lovely people n romantic weather:)

        Like

         
  2. IRSHAD

    February 3, 2014 at 6:16 am

    SOUMAYA SIR IF U COULD HAVE MADE THE DESCRIPTIONS A BIT LONGER IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A TREAT FOR US.

    Like

     
    • wiseguy from the east

      February 3, 2014 at 6:29 am

      Will come in bits. Not all in one go or it will be a book & I will break my back typing

      Like

       
  3. TTS

    February 5, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Delhi is like a drug. Once you live there, you just can’t get over it. You should try Bangalore next 🙂

    Like

     
    • wiseguy from the east

      February 5, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      agree to the 1st. could be to the 2nd 🙂

      On Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 4:06 AM, Idyll Dreams of an Idle Fellow wrote:

      >

      Like

       
  4. Amul Garg

    May 4, 2014 at 10:01 am

    A very good article!

    Like

     
  5. Anonymous

    July 25, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Delhi is beautiful as in l.i.f.e,life.Here,there is the inevitable heat and dust..But the city of Bangalore is beautiful,as in a dream.The soft drizzles,the muted shades…the Paris of India. Think Rabindranath Tagore would have loved it.

    Like

     
    • wiseguy from the east

      July 26, 2014 at 1:28 am

      That sounds like poetry. Plese do a full piece on B’luru. My daughters studying design there & loving it
      Sent on my BlackBerry® from Vodafone

      Like

       

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