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
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
Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India
Pune, Maharashtra, India
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.