I woke up early this morning and as I lay in bed my mind went back to Calcutta. Like I do every day, I looked at the clock and thought to myself: mum and dad must be getting ready for work now…. Skippy must be falling asleep under the dining table….Sherwin is probably sitting in a roadside dhaba gorging on alu-puri or some tasty morning treat and my city is gradually stirring back to life.
I love Calcutta, and there are days when I miss it so much. On days like today, the mere thought of my city or even an accidental memory will bring back fond memories tainted with the pain of living so far away from it. The noise, the pollution, the dirt, the chaos, the traffic, the congestion, the unemployment, the poverty, the unorganized state of things,… in fact, nothing at all can cause me to cease loving it. You see, Calcutta has something that many other cities in the world seem to lack: Calcutta has warmth. Calcutta has a heart and this is evident in the people who call this city home.
There are very few things which emotionally stir me as much as the thought of Calcutta and that is precisely the reason that I miss her sorely, painfully, like a pining lover does, secretly from a distance.
Living in Dubai (humoursly referred to by some as, India’s cleanest city) there are daily occurrences that remind me of Calcutta. I’m surrounded by people who are from Calcutta or spend the day and in some cases the entire week, reminiscing about the city they love and miss so much. Fleeting references sweep into our conversations unexpectedly and bring back memories that stir up strong emotions and a longing to be home again.
Though I love my city more than anything, I hate it equally. Actually I hate the people who have not let the city be all that it deserves to be and can be. She has been in a devilish limbo for the longest time now: caught between a rich past and a promising future. So much still needs to be done and the mindset of people still needs to change. Living in Dubai for the last four years I doubt if I will ever be able to fit into the pace of Calcutta again, though I choose to remain an optimistic dreamer.
This just happened to be another sweeping instance which made me miss Calcutta. I’ve traveled to many of the major cities in the world. But Calcutta will always be home. Yes she has many flaws but a lack of character and emotions are not among them. It is a city that pulsates with life, with hope and with certain sensitivity. It is a city with a heart.