I am depressed. Having lived in Bombay, in the same colony for all my life until I came to the US, I obviously associate with that area and the city the most. I knew the galli-galli ka paan waala, sabzi-waala, PCO waala, xerox-shop waala- they were all my friends, and even enquired about me now and then after I came here. ("Toh Unkal, baby kaisi hai abhi? shaadi ho gaya kya, uska?") :) Four years after I came here, my parents moved out of that colony and went to live in a far-flung suburb in Bombay. It was weird enough having phone conversations with them and not being able to imagine the new place, the new locality, the new neighbours my mom mentioned. And not getting any more news about my old adda. :( Then I made a trip last year and saw all of that. The "great" self-sufficient little residential complex they were living in- replete with a college, a hospital, and everything in one place. Ok, great, I thought. It's a comfy life, and I'm happy for my parents. But this is not that. Soon enough, I found my way around the new place, and at the end of the day, it was still the familiar feeling, not much changes between one suburb and another in Bombay. I could also make a trip down the memory lane, go and spend a few days in my old adda, thanks to some friends who were still there. I came back to the US, now happy that I could imagine the cute little kid next-door who loved coming and playing with my mom, and relate to them when they talked about watching a movie in this big multiplex theatre that was walking distance from their house..nice nice.
Now they've moved out of Bombay, into this city called Hyderabad! NOW no offence to all the hydies on here, am sure it's a great city... (or whatever..;) ) But this is most definitely not that. My dad raves about how the weather is not as humid as it was in Bombay, how much he enjoys his walks better. How the vegetables are a lot less expensive, and even tastier. Of course, I'm happy for him. My mom enjoys the closeness of relatives around, but has her share of domestic woes- water shortage, bais not tiko-fying, and the more laid-back attitude in general, as against bombay where everyone was always on the run. I hear her out, and reflect on how much a bigger adjustment it's turning out to be for her..
But I'm left with nothing. No memories, no ability to relate at all! To think that I'll be going to hyderabad the next time i go to india, is just depressing! Yes, i can still visit bombay, be with my friends there, but it's just not the same. As it is, I'm always torn between spending time with my parents and friends when I go home...and that's just one part of the problem. The bigger realisation - that I don't have a home in bombay- is most upsetting. I won't be taking the trains, chatting up auto-drivers about their opinions on shiv-sena, arguing with bus-conducters, refreshing my marathi..catching up with old friends, dukaan-waalas, all that and more! I will not be able to frequent all my favourite hang-out joints. There won't be the sea! I will have to speak hyderabadi hindi (eugh!) instead of apna rapchik bambaiyya hindi. :( :( :(.The last straw was when my mom sent me some clothes recently, and I was ..let's just say surprised at how my mom's taste had changed in clothes. I usually have complete faith in her picks.I asked her "yeh kya bheja.." trying to contain my shock, and she said "arre, yahaan pe sab aise hi kapde miltein hain". I was crushed! :( (Now, now,i'm sure with enough time, my mom will discover some better places to shop at..but for now, that was another thing to upset me).
One of the good things that has come out of blogging- is I've made my first friend in Hyderabad. :) so I know I have atleast one friend in the strange city. That's very comforting. My parents have found some good things about the city, and I am of course, happy for them. But at the end of the day, Hyderabad is not Bombay! and that makes me selfishly sad. :(