As the name suggests, it’s the desire to wander which sometimes happens by choice and the other times without one. I have been a true wanderer both in terms of my mind (with innumerable questions) & my feet literally doing the city hopping. I have a few anecdotes from my experiences that I would like to share today that will hopefully give you all a peek-a-boo into my life’s journey so far.
I was born in Mysore, Karnataka the cultural capital of the state as it is widely known, but I’d prefer to call it one of the most well planned & cleaner cities of India. I received formal education till my engineering in Mysore & having born in the year 1987, my childhood was pretty much the same as that of any 90’s kid across the country which had chances of developing cold occasionally due to playing in the mud or rain rather than developing a texting thumb syndrome due to smartphones.
Thank god for that!
I always thought I knew my city very well until my husband who was my then boyfriend busted that bubble. My husband hails from Hiriyur, a small town in Chitradurga another historic place in Karnataka who had enrolled for an engineering course in Mysore(basically destined to meet me). That’s my first stint with a traveler’s insight. A visitor can know so much more than yourself about your city. He made me realize that I knew only the locations of all the pani puri stalls in the city (perhaps a little more than that).
At that point in my life, never had I thought I would be city hopping henceforth which holds good even today!
As destiny had it, I moved to Pune to do my Masters. I think from then on, I have been haunted with a question “will I ever get a chance to stay in my hometown for longer duration?”
So here I was at the juncture of my life where I formed strong opinions about the city like an outsider just by looking at the badly maintained forts & conveniently felt that my city was much better mainly because I had a bad experience with an autorickshaw driver, felt the idlis served were too hard and they didn’t know to prepare filter coffee! However, the puneite in me had seamlessly taken over my mysorean emotion. I remember explaining to someone that Pune was like Mysore of Maharashtra because I had found a new home away from home.
Life has its magical ways to teach you lessons like they say what goes around comes around. I had to stay in Bangalore for 2 months in a hostel during my internship. I had a Bengali roommate who once had a bad experience with an auto driver & decided to hold the entire Bangalore responsible for his bad behavior. Strangely, that’s how visitors judge any new city guys! I could only laugh at my past and wished she would find her Bangalorean connection soon.
On that note, thank god Dubai doesn’t have autorickshaws!
My next stop was Hyderabad for my first job. My first salary, my first high of being financially independent. Nevertheless, my struggle with food was still on as I am a vegetarian and u will have to satisfy yourself with dal pappu in Hyderabad for being one. Things got a little better when I got familiar with veg biriyani (though my non vegetarian friends strongly refrain me from using “veg” as a prefix for biriyani). Having had a chance to visit my hometown only for a fortnight every 4 months I was again left gasping with the same question- “will I ever get a chance to stay in my hometown for longer duration?”
Then, Doha happened!
With Pakistani, Egyptian, Sudanese, Filipino neighbours, the concept of co-existence beyond boundaries practically materialized. Of course, u tend to take a huge learning about one’s culture & cuisine & my first interplay with the middle east folklore has been an everlasting one.
I got my Qatari PR renewed only to find myself applying for a PR in Dubai in the next few months. Apart from meeting all my old friends from Engineering & post graduation who are working here, another best thing that has happened to me is, I have reconnected with my most enjoyed interest that is blogging.
Finally, I got the opportunity to stay in my hometown for a considerable amount of time during my brother’s wedding & relive my growing up days. Trust me; I made the most of it. However, on the last day when one of my cousins remarked that it would be nice if only I could’ve stayed a bit longer, I was amused at my reaction. I told her I can’t wait to get back to Dubai to my husband & daughter!
I have come to realize that home is whom you come to rather than where you to go to. I would love to come back home any day to my kids, husband, parents & parents-in-law. This ideal home that can have all my loved ones under one roof resides in my mental celluloid & I wonder if it will ever cease to be a reality.
As I continue to wander, every city I have invested my time in has left a piece of its essence in me & I have left a piece of myself in every place I have touched...