Monday, September 30, 2013

Loving Your City

A city says a lot about its people.  To a great extent, the environment we inhabit shapes our personality.  A city can make a person a hero, a romantic, an artist, a martyr, a rebel etc.  Just like our upbringing defines us, the city we reside in contributes in multiple ways to nurture and nourish our individuality. When we move to a new city, we embrace the culture, the society and a new set of people. Settling in a new place has its own teething problems. But some places attract you instantly and before you realize you are in love with the place. It may be due to the people you meet, the weather, a new college, job or house, or simply the character of the city. The chemistry we share with a city we love can only be felt.

Of the few places I have been fortunate enough to explore and spend some time in, there are some places I can never get enough of.  Every visit seems incomplete and there is always a reason or an excuse to go back.

My top five in random order are as follows:

Kolkata (Calcutta), India
This is my city and I belong here. Though I prefer the name Calcutta to Kolkata, that doesn’t make the city any less lovable.  The city gave me more than I ever expected –A loving liberal family, friends for life, education to cherish, a beautiful childhood, adorable pets, a treasured adolescence, and more.  My love for books, music, and cricket started from Kolkata. Whether as a student of history, an animal lover, a foodie, or an employee – Kolkata has encouraged me to grow, learn, appreciate, and endure. Despite the bad traffic, poor roads, dismal government and other shortcomings, Calcutta will always be home.  There is much more to the city than I can ever attempt to summarize in a paragraph. Someday, I will write at length on Calcutta.

Mumbai (Bombay), India
The effervescence and energy of Mumbai attract me more than anything else. Bombay exudes this get-up-and-go spirit that makes you want to love life all over again no matter how tough your challenges are. The best part of this cosmopolitan city is the sea. The sea and I share a great rapport, which keeps both of us happy! I enjoy the vastness of the sea the most during the rains. On the flip side, Mumbai has bad traffic, bad traffic, and bad traffic. But I am lucky to have my workplace near home J. I have good friends here and I started actively contributing to my blog after moving to this city. Mumbai has given me a new taste of independence coupled with an increased sense of responsibility. This is the city that makes me believe in dreams and miracles.

Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India
I don’t know of anyone who has visited Manali and not fallen in love with the city! This picturesque hill station in Himachal Pradesh, India is among the most sought-after tourist destinations in India. I have been to Manali twice and each experience was novel. Perhaps that is the magic of the city – you find newness each time you meet the city. The breathtaking landscape – the pristine beauty of snow-capped mountains, lush-green dense forests and crystal clear water of the Beas River –Manali can make a writer or photographer out of any ordinary mortal. If you are artistically inclined, this is the place to be. Unfortunately, only residents of the hill states can buy property here. This hill station always welcomes me with open arms.

Sydney, Australia
I have been to Sydney, Australia just once – three years back, thanks to the organization I work with. The experience was fabulous. It is a city that gives you more than you can imagine. The weather is amazing and the dynamic nature of the city mesmerizes you. For me, it was as if the city was daring me to perform better, to pursue my dreams, to stay positive and to stay fit. The happiness among the people there is infectious. A clean, green city with the bountiful sea – Sydney gives an out-of-the-world feeling to any first timer. For a lover of cricket, Sydney had an added attraction – the Sydney Cricket Ground. I have to go back to the city and explore it in its totality again.

Pune, Maharashtra, India
Pune is second home.  The weather here is romantic and comforting. I have been staying in Pune for a few days now and I feel that in several ways, Pune is like Calcutta- the simplicity in people, their love for arts and culture, the zest for education et al. I can sense an inexplicable spiritual power in this city. I feel at home every time I visit Pune.  It is a busy city and almost everyone here owns a two-wheeler, just like Chandigarh. But Pune has a character of its own. Even amid the hustle-bustle of city life, you will manage to find your quaint corner here. I like spending time reading or writing in this beautiful city. The adjoining areas in the outskirts of the city add to the beauty of Pune (Lonavla, Khandala, Sinhgad, Khadakvasla, Lavassa and more).

Finally, I have to mention Goa for all its charm and spontaneity. Though it doesn’t qualify as a city, the Indian state of Goa is like a mega-city. This is one place where I feel totally at peace with the surroundings. You can relax, play, work, chat, write, click pictures – or do nothing and still enjoy Goa. I have been to Goa several times and I wish to keep it that way- at least once a year. Again, the sea in Goa is the main attraction. Sometimes the sea is ruthless and wild; in some beaches it comes forth as calm and peaceful. In few others, the sea is playful. It is very difficult to leave the seashore and go back to your home or hotel while staying in Goa. The scenic beauty captivates you and there is a sense of fulfillment. The spirit and character of Goa has not changed over the years. Perhaps that’s what makes the state so special.


  1. When I read about Calcutta Pune Bombay it gave me goosebumps... When I read Manali and Sydney, it seeped in very slowly and dissolved in my blood and I didnt realize that I was in those place through your writing.... Write More :)

  2. Thank you, thank you :)). I know how much you love Pune :). Am happy you liked this piece.