My grandfather was transferred to this place and then my father got his job here. I was born and brought up there and left it only after my marriage. Memories of my school, college, first job, friends are all from this place. The city market, the shops, the roads, the eating joints… all are etched as beautiful landmarks in my memories.
After so many years, if someone asks me ‘what I miss the most about that place?’ Without thinking twice I would say ‘its pace’. Yes, I miss the way my days used to pass during my younger days. I could live each day to its full. At present, my hands are always full and time just slips away from between my fingers like grains of sand.
My hometown is like any other small city. Small neighborhoods, small shops, small markets nearby, schools at a walking distance, playgrounds nearby and more. My earlier school-life was limited to going to school and coming back home. I remember the most that I could explore was just my neighborhood and areas close to my school. Yes, through my school, in the form of field trips, I did visit those places of my city which were famous as picnic spots.
I remember a famous public park full of lots of trees and colorful bushes, paths made of bricks with small bridges over small artificial canals having ducks. There was a park for kids which had a big slide in the form of shoe. I must have been 8 years old and for a child like me, that shoe was the most beautiful form of architecture ever seen.
Through my school-picnics, I had also visited the zoo of our city. It was known as one of the biggest forest areas of that time. Like a good student, I had carried a small notebook to note down the names of animals and some of their facts, as instructed by the teacher. As we sat in one of the gardens of the zoo to have our lunch, the monkeys started coming to snatch anything and everything which was in our hands… and that’s how my notebook ended with a monkey (he must have been really pleased with my work because I never ever got the notebook back.)
As we grew, our school field trips became overnight trips to outskirts of the city. Long trips on the bus, dancing and singing with our friends, joking and laughing we used to reach our destinations. After sight-seeing we used to go to the hotel reserved for the night stay. Settling down in hotels and then having a freaking night of ghost stories and gossips in our rooms after dinner is something that I would never forget.
As I joined college, I started exploring more and more of my hometown.
With my friends, I used to find new markets in other areas within the city. There was this one small market where one could get amazing accessories and bags. As college girls, such markets were not less than a fairyland for us and so we friends used to make sure to visit it once every fortnight, to update ourselves. A little further away there was a lane where you could find all sorts of academic books at half the rate. For the people preparing for entrance examinations, it was like a treasure trove.
We also had special restaurants marked to celebrate birthday parties or eat ice-cream. During long weekends or holidays I used to plan to visit the amusement or water parks with my college friends. Sometimes we went exploring the historical areas of our city. Huge gardens to take a break from college lectures and favorite ‘Pani-Puri’ stalls to kill those hunger pangs, had become a part of our college routine.
During the time of festivities, our nearby markets became our popular visiting spots. Shopping for clothes, house-furnishing, festival essentials used to keep us roaming for hours at length in the markets. Going from shop to shop, looking and assessing the things we needed, bargaining with the shopkeepers was all that we loved doing happily. Every alternate day my family planned to visit different markets during these times and I loved every moment of it.
I always felt alive in my hometown. I felt lived. Even after so many years, I miss my hometown. I have lived for more than a decade in some of the best metropolitan cities of India, but still, I long for that small city which I cherish in my heart. Honestly, I am glad that I was born in a small city. It might not have had the best of things as found in larger cities but it did give me the best feeling of belonging.
Do you live in the place where you were born and brought up? If not, then do you miss it? Share your experiences in the comment sections below.
This blog post is part of #A2ZChallenge. My theme for the year 2018 is Memories. This post is for letter ‘H’.