From the orange city to the city of dreams!!!

From the orange city to the city of dreams!!!

Moving … which by flight takes 01:25:00, by Duronto Express, is 11:05:00, by car, is 13:40:00. But for me, it seemed endless and very painful. Close on the heels of the great Mumbai floods of 26th July was my departure from my hometown, Nagpur. One disaster after another. Just the latter was something I had chosen for myself. And what a day to leave – 15th Aug 2005.

15 august calendar sheet with red pin.

For the uninitiated, Nagpur is the 3rd largest city in Maharashtra. It also doubles as its winter capital, the other educational capital (second only to Pune), the city in the heart of India – it’s geographical centre. No wonder the Nagpur telephone directory has hundreds of entries beginning with ‘Central India…’. A city where I wasn’t born (I was born in Kannur, Kerala) but still nurtured me as a mother. A city where I grew up, welcomed my childhood discreet best friend, playmate, enemy all rolled into one a.k.a. my sister, where I went to school, learnt important lessons of life, learnt to ride, rode to learn, went to college, made friends (and foes), fought, won, lost, rejoiced, cried, enjoyed, brooded, the works!

I was going to leave all of this behind – actually, I left a piece of me there. Anyways, I had made a conscious choice of joining Convergys, Mumbai and had to make a move – so I did. It was once again a rainy day and trains were getting cancelled randomly. It was only at the railway station that I came to know that I had company. A family friend  was supposed to embark on that journey with me. Well. that’s not what happened. Our train got cancelled too. I had to decide quickly about my next move. I could not delay the trip any further since I had spoken to my recruiter and gotten an extension on my joining date. I could not delay this any further lest I should lose my job. So it was decided – I would take the next bus to Pune and another from there to Mumbai. The friend, my co-passenger had to be coaxed a little bit to join me in the bus journey too. He finally agreed and we made a beeline to the bus depot, booked our tickets and boarded the bus.

I vividly remember that day – the occasion – it was happening finally – I was leaving town for good or for bad – but decidedly ‘forever’. My sister, my childhood classmate and pal, my family friends all stood there watching as the bus slowly rolled out onto the main road. It stopped there momentarily – so did my heartbeat. Some late bird passenger was running frantically towards the bus. I’m glad he did – at least I got a few more seconds with my folks. The lump in my throat just kept growing bigger and bigger. I could hear my heartbeats as if they played on the bus’ music system. My whole life, all of 29 years of my history flashed back to me. I was going numb in the head. One voice inside me screamed out loud – “Don’t go, stay back”. That’s when reality slapped me in the face and asked me to buckle up for the ride. It said  I’m headed for a city that never sleeps, the land of opportunities, the city of dreams – the financial capital. Well, I must admit – my eyes did this…

My emotions

Then the final blow was dealt – the bus rolled out on the road and started speeding – leaving everything I loved behind. Everything I held on to for so long, just slipped away from me and I could do nothing but WATCH. The family friend tried to make a conversation – I obliged too – however, I don’t remember the mumbo-jumbo that escaped my mouth – I was still numb with euphoria and despair tugging me from both sides. 50a98-dsc_9295But as was destined, I overcame the grief in a while and started chatting the friend up. Time flew and before we knew it, we reached Pune. I don’t know the place, though – it was some sleepy sweltering corner of Pune. After gulping down an amazingly delicious veg burger, we boarded the next bus to Mumbai. We disembarked at Khar Danda, where he took to his borther’s place. At least now I had a place where I could freshen up and get some grub after the 24+ hours of gruelling (physically and mentally) journey. That’s when I realised I made a boo boo. My final destination for that journey was Thane. Little did I know that to a Mumbaikar, this translates to a blunder – as in: I wanted to go to Thane and I got down at Khar – poles apart considering Mumbai’s geography.

The rest is history – I reached Thane. Got some shut-eye before kick-starting the 11 year (and counting) long story in Mumbai. It did take me a while to settle down and go with the Mumbai flow – but now this is home. This is my town now. Too bad – that titanic piece of me that left in Nagpur – had sunken without a trace (see my earlier post ‘Moving on’. My parents moved to Chennai. Now I don’t have a place to stay in Nagpur save the hearts and minds of my old time pals. Nagpur – you will always be my first home – my first love. Keep some space for me – I may come back some day. MAY!!…

Here are a few things I will always miss…





The peaceful environs of the Dragon Palace



Nagpur International Airport



Evenings by the Phutala Lakeside


Nagpur Railway Station


My college – Dharampeth Science College


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