Saturday, August 12, 2006

Small town girl

When I first came to the US, to join grad school, I HATED this city..or rather town. I remember calling up my friends back home in Bombay and crying "main gaav mein rehti hoon!!". Coming from Bombay, where everyone was all always on the go, and having to run behind buses all my life, to a place where the buses actually wait for you, was a big change for me. It took me a while to get used to the concept of "university town". Where the university, and perhaps a popular college sport, is what the town is all about. But soon enough, it grew on me. One of the things I loved was the amount of greenery. Having lived in a concrete jungle all my life, this was a complete treat for me. The music scene was another big plus- "Downtown" may consist of all of 3 streets, but is very vibrant and there's all kinds of live music to suit everyone's taste. This was another thing I began enjoying. I realised that a "small-town" was the perfect place to spend 5 - 6 years working on a Ph.D. Easy-going, peaceful, and minimum hassles such as traffic jams, pollution, and other things that can be a pain in big cities. If you stick around in such a place long enough, you become familiar with several people. And that's a nice feeling- to frequent your favourite cafe or bar and build up a rapport with the guy at the counter. Or have the waiter at your favourite restaurant recognize you and always remember to bring you a tall glass of water, no ice, with a slice of lemon. Or to just walk about downtown and run into at least 2 or 3 people you know.. Or the fact that there's just one fedex guy who does the package deliveries for the entire town...(and he's cute too) AND he knows me by my first name- so if there are deliveries that are sent to my home address, he automatically brings them to the lab! I can't tell you how kicked I am by that! :-). Then there's Bob, the handy-man I run into every now and then and chat him up. So if I've a leaking faucet or something to fix, it is not too hard to catch hold of him and he does it for me in a jiffy.

I can enjoy living in a one-bedroom apartment by myself and not pay an arm and a leg for it. I can even own a garden plot if I want. I can avoid driving to some extent, and bike or walk around. I need not be afraid of losing my way (yes, even if it's a small town, i'm often losing my way while driving in new localities :) ) because wherever you are, one can never be too far from the main beltway that loops around town. People are nice- the town has a nice cosy feel to it, as against the impersonal vibes that one gets living in a sprawl of suburbs. Being in a university town also means that at the same time, people are quite liberal and forward, and it's not hard to find a bunch of people with a common cause or interest as yours and get involved with them.

Sure enough, after 5 years, a "small-town" can get to you. But that's when you are also preparing for your exit, and if anything, it only motivates you to hurry up and finish. It also makes me realise that I remain a big-city girl at heart, and yearn to live next in a place where I can witness the daily hustle-bustle, chase buses and trains, see tall buildings around me...and then crib about traffic jams, pollution, astronomical costs, etc. :)


Rebellion said...


Now me'z off to read the post! :P

Take care,

Sayesha said...

Aravinda de Silva again! :D

This post touched me... there was something about people in NY that I don't quite find in people in Singapore... maybe it's the warm smiles that strangers give you without creeping you out. :)

Rebellion said...

Wat a description of a small town Lajjo!! You made me all jealous with that so-tempting-sounded-description of your place!!

Never stayed anywhere except Mumbai and no doubts I yearn to stay in a place like this but probably you're right, one wants to definitely get back to the original place, where you belong to!!

How I really wanted to live all by myself! This was 'one' non-accomplished dream of mine :(

Take care,

neihal said...


neihal said...

lovely post...I am in Mumbai right now...and am loving every moment here...exactly as you say...but then I am at heart a small town day I'd like to go back and live a quiet life :)

Prashanth said...

I feel the same way about state college... well, it's not as small as your place, but for a lifelong Chennai-vaasi it definitely felt small, in a happy sort of way. But I'm reasonably sure I would always love to live in such an environment, without yearning for the big city bustle :)

Janefield said...

loved this post. full of warm and fuzzy feelings it is invoking. vely nice indeed :) am a complete sucker for live music too! that's one thing that is utterly grand about amreeka!

greensatya said...

Loved the artistic and passionate description of your 'small' town. Seems like you poured your heart out here.

It is indeed good to live in a small town or suburbia. But the big cities are where the dreams can be translated.

You have nice time where you go.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

eh! ye kya naam hai tera? i'm going to stick to aarti. mubarak ho, bohat gold ikkhatti kar rahi hai tu aajkal.

yes, i've a heard a bit about the rather cold (?) face of the public in Sg. the smiles here, while aplenty, range from warm to plain superficial...but it's pleasant nevertheless.

:-) glad you liked it. and why write off your dream so soon? who knows, some day an opportunity will present itself, that you may live alone for a short span of time?

thanks. :) oh, you're in bombay? nice. and it still hasn't converted you? :)

really? i don't think i can live the quiet life now..until i retire may be. :)

yes, live music rocks! i will write another post about that then, ispeshal phor you. all an attempt to reduce the after-effects of your trauma. :)

thanks man. I have been cursing my town often of late, cribbing that it's small and there aint much to do. today the weather was beautiful- i went out on a long bike ride and that inspired this post. yes, big cities bring opportunities galore.
thanks :)

shub said...


The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

i know! :)

Tachyoson said...

one feels alone and unwanted in a big city, being a big city person all my life i really dont like a place that anonymizes EVERYTHING!

by the way ... my blog is all about the dark side of me, stuff that i dont usually say out loud - being a Stanley Ipkiss personified.

Janefield said...

oooh! pliss to be writing espeshul post for moi soon, that too abt live music! can't wait!! dont' make me wait, don't let me stay, in and out of lurrrrvee...err...saaree...slightly got carried away :D

Duhita said...

Aaah this is the song that got you your identity:) Nice....

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

stanely ipkiss indeed! that's cool. we like reading dark stuff.

will put next weekend. until then plis to control

arre! i'm glad someone atleast heard the song, during it's short life on here. :) thanks!!!

Sakshi said...

You have described me and my feelings exactly. I love being in Lex., KY now that I see it for all the small town charm it offers (though there are days when I cuss it a lot too - esp. when all the cool things happen in Cinci not here :-()
But nicely written.
BTW - I have taken a couple of your ideas and posted my version on my blog. Sorry if that infringes on you copy rights ;-)

neihal said...

to me bombay is what the uni town is to you. change is good. I am having fun the choas and the big city life....but then this is not where I'd like to live my entire maybe when yo move to a bigger city I'll move to a smaller one :)

The Inquisitive Akka said...

Nice post!I've never lived in a small town :( I feel like going somwhere right away!

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

yeah, i hear ya about Lex. thanks...
BTW - I have taken a couple of your ideas and posted my version on my blog. Sorry if that infringes on you copy rights ;-)

what? sorry and a winkie? you think that cuts it? we need to meet outside of this space to settle on royalties..

;) no probs at all re.

i see what you mean. enjoy bombay while you're there, then..

you're back! thanks! yeah, i'd recommend it..but not for too long. ;) may be post-retirement.

Perspective Inc. said...

You made it sound so quaint, charming and beautiful! Love it!

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

thanks perspective,
i think its a fitting tribute to the town i've lived in and enjoyed for so long, but cursed so often for being a "small town". it's actually been really nice to me.

The Smiling Girl said...

Oh I completely understand how it feels to be in a small town.. but for me its the reverse.. :)
I got so fed up of the recognition I got in my small town, that I yearned for a city life, where no one recognises me.. :)
It has its own advantages, u see..;)

Btw, as u already guessed.. ME BACK..:)