A letter to the city I fell for

Dear You,

As my life in college comes to an end, I like to look back and see how my days in the glorified institution went. It’s been a hell of a ride. And the end is very near now but still doesn’t seem that way.

When I started college, I had imagined it to be vastly different from my school life. However, expectation and reality rarely do match up. In college I met so many new people. Formed bonds and learnt things that I’d have never known if I’d been stuck in the hellhole of home. Home comforts you. Home is safe. But at the same time home is blinding. Moving to a new place will always give you a new perspective. And for this I am thankful to my mother, who insisted of pushing me out of my comfort zones. To come and study in a new city, where I didn’t know the language, and I barely knew the people. What was pop culture here, may not have been back home. The slang they used was new. Even their tea was different, making me switch over to drinking coffee which the South is known for anyway. Slowly, I began to fall in love with this city. It’s friendly attitudes towards the modern youth as well as its unfriendly behaviour towards those who were outsiders. I complained a lot when I first came to the place. I was annoyed. Leaving behind everything I had known. But now I step of the plane and smile because I feel I am home again. I will never forget the lessons that this city has taught me. Whether it’s the larger philosophical questions of life or even how to manage my finances, this place made me learn it all. And it did so without mercy. It taught me to respect and love the language I was born with, and inspired love for art in me. It taught me t become conscious of those around me and made me come face to face with adversities that I was made to battle head on. It bred an atmosphere of learning and a place for self-growth. Throughout my first year I would complain about the city and about how living here was difficult, but as soon as I fit into the groove, found a place I could call home and go to at the end of the day, to collapse gratefully onto my welcoming bed I began to find the love that I had for this city. For it’s cheap yet delicious eating options, for the way you get that one autowaala who speaks to you in English and agrees to take you home without asking for “50 rupees extra madam”. For all the different ways they make biryani, each with its own charms. And mostly oh mostly for it’s unpredictable weather, (as if Gong Yoo is nearby and can’t make up his mind about what he wants to feel at the moment… sorry for those who don’t watch k-dramas and haven’t seen Goblin).

A lot of my learning was facilitated by my teachers. People whom I have incomparable respect for. You guys were instrumental in filling the gaps in my learning, encouraging me to take an interest in things that I found too difficult to understand before. Thank you for not looking at me like some delusional idiot with fanciful ideas when I came to you with them. Thank you for teaching me the value of being passionate about something and being able to work on it to make it your goals. If the city has an ability to breed a sense of learning, it only happens because of people like you, who open up the floodgates of learning and of knowledge. To lay yourselves out like that for us every single day, bring us to the level of wisdom that is required of us is not a simple task and for that I cannot express my gratitude properly enough. It isn’t enough to say that it’s been a pleasure to have your lectures in class, because our relationship evolved from just the classroom to beyond. Whether it was a late-night text confirming something about the syllabus or if we just collapsed on your table at the end of a long day (I’m looking at you Noori) you were there. For this, thank you so much. The friendships we formed with you (and please allow me to call it that because I honestly feel that way.) are so unlike anything I’ve ever had before, thank you for making it comfortable enough for it to bloom. From fangirling, to being scolded, to understanding what would have otherwise been unacceptable excuses and extension of deadlines, thank you.

My classmates and friends and my seniors, you have given me so much. you shared your tiffin with me your laughter and your jokes. Because of you I believe that there is still good in this world. You guys have constantly supported whether it was make-up or it was notes for a subject you came through. You have given me so much even if I didn’t ask. you were the ones who would cheer for small accomplishments that would spur me on to getting the bigger ones. If I felt unhappy you guys were there to listen and to offer help. I really don’t know any other group that is so varied and yet so tightly knit. We may have our own differences but every one puts those aside to help each other. You respect each other and love each other and me and I want to really from the bottom of my heart say thank you for that.

My best friends. Would I even be alive right now if it weren’t for you! The Western Acoustics team of 2017-2018, thank you guys for giving me the confidence to go up on stage and fall in love with music once again. You made practice bearable, with all the bad jokes and the off-key notes. Sru, you make me happy everytime I see you, even though it was in our last year I am so glad I can actually call you a good friend rather than just an acquaintance. Dolly, you somehow managed to get me out of the slumps that I could never bring myself to talk to anyone about. Thank you for being there, after college, when everyone had left, when we would walk around in Shantinagar and be hopeless. Kim, my beautiful wife, for being the mom-est mom. Your level of love and affection is difficult to find in people. When you activated your mom friend mode it was hard to really come out and say anything against you. Mor Mor, you were an idiot sometimes, but without you I wouldn’t be half as invested in politics as I am now. You were the Wikipedia article on so many isues that I’d have never have known of if you hadn’t told me in simple terms. Nayn, if there was anyone I’d talk about dogs and sushi to in one sentence it’d probably be you. Thank you for the Wai Wai. More importantly thank you for the stories. You should really write them down and sell a book. Dareen. I kept you last because you suck. (not really tho). If it weren’t for you, I’d still be stuck in second year. The things you have done for me I can never forget. We’ve had our differences but it pales in comparison to the moments we have cherished together. The food, the drink, the musicals we watched when we were supposed to be studying. That time we spent money to pet some cats for an hour or so… thank you for sticking with me ever though I annoyed you to death. Even though I was cranky, moody, ecstatic or hungry. Thank you. It’s hard to live life with out best friends. So, thank you to each and every one of you.

Finally, to my roommate. If anyone who hasn’t lived away from home ever suddenly has to do so the one piece of advice I’d offer to them would be to find a good roommate. More than someone who is clean and not too noisy, one needs to find someone similar to them. Living alone is hard anyway, so to have a person living with you who doesn’t match makes it more and more difficult. Roommate, I have been closer to you that I have been with any other person in my adult life. And that’s not just because our beds are an arm’s length away from each other. You made living in this tiny space bearable and I couldn’t have been happier without your presence. I know I have annoyed you several times and made you want to kill me (the feeling is mutual). But you have been the best roommate that I’ve ever had. It had been a stroke of luck to meet someone like her, we shared similar music tastes, similar ideologies and the two of us were able to get along when it was needed the most. No other person would have woken up at 4 in the morning and given a cold compress to me when I was suffering from 104 fever. No one else would scold me for keeping my bottle out of place. And no one else made me as comfortable in the room as you have. (Proximity has never been a problem for us.)

 

Living in a different city can be hell. It can be the wort thing that you ever experience. I know that this place might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it certainly wasn’t mine, but with the right kind of people it might just become your cup of coffee. And so, the people who made my life in this city like that perfect cappuccino I am indebted. I don’t know what the future has in store for me. I don’t know where I’m going. But I am beyond grateful for the experiences that I have had in this place all of which I could not have had without you. My dear new city, you have given me so much, in these three years. All the pain, the love, the comfort, the losing, the winning, you gave me so much of it. I’m so glad I got to know you.

Love from,
Me.

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