I was born a Nagpurian. I have lived in the City of Oranges for the first 24 years of my life. I moved to Bangalore or Bengaluru as it is known now, in 2009 and I have been here since the past 7 years. As much as Nagpur is known for its oranges, it is also known for its heat. The temperatures here soar to 48 degrees C in peak summer. We have to cover ourselves from head to toe to escape the excruciating sun. Whereas Bengaluru is as cool as a cucumber; with the peak heat temperature not crossing 38 degrees and rains always around the corner. Bengaluru is also known for its weather, but on the cooler side. The climate is always pleasant.
On Friday, the sky fell on my head suddenly, just like the gauls in the Asterix comics feared; which meant I had to fly out to Nagpur on Monday to get something urgently done. I booked the tickets on Saturday, but due to high prices, I booked a one-stop flight. I had to change my flight at the Mumbai Airport. I was going to do a self check-in at the Bangalore airport, but it kept telling me that the check-in for this flight is restricted. I got worried what happened and went to inquire at the check-in counter. Turned out, the flight from Bangalore to Mumbai was on time, but the flight from Mumbai to Nagpur was delayed. My flight was uneventful though, landed at Mumbai on time.
At Mumbai, I had about 3 hours to kill. One of my FedBuddies said he could come over and meet me. I was glad he did. I spent a little over an hour with him at the arrival lounge. It was real fun. I was supposed to arrive in Nagpur by 16:45; I landed at 20:00. Since I was going to stay over at my Aunt’s place, she came to pick me up along with my Uncle.
As soon as I landed at Nagpur, I could feel the heat. It was so dang hot! Even the water at night was hot. After a great dinner, my aunt showed me how she makes jewelry at home. She is so talented; she does a lot of great things. She asked me to choose different type of beads in different colors so she could make some for me. We sat for I don’t know how long and I chose beads for 3 different jewelry sets. Later she made me 2 of the sets and they look absolutely ravishing and elegant.
Did I mention it was hot? It was hot! I was sweating while I was drying myself off with my towel right after a shower next morning! It’s almost hilarious! Being a Bengalurean now, I am not used to this much heat, I have completely gotten acclimatized to the Bengaluru weather now. So it was really weird to be sitting in this much heat. It almost felt like an out of body experience, I felt numb and ended up with a bad headache. Though the nights were better as the AC was switched on after dinner.
I went to my college for the urgent work that had befallen me. Just as soon as I saw my college, I was flooded with memories of the 5 years that I spent here. It is exactly the same; nothing seems to have changed in all these years. Even the same administrative official was sitting at the same counter. It was amazing to see her. She even remembered that I used to wear glasses and she asked me if I don’t anymore. I said I wear contact lenses now. She then told me that I had to go to the university offices as well, and finally by evening my work was done. I was so exhausted by the time I got back. But in the evening it cooled down a little and it was a bit windy, so my aunt and I went to the vegetable market. So many of my childhood memories came to the fore, I remembered going there very frequently with my mom, bargaining for cheaper prices and buying the choicest of vegetables and fruits. I loved it there.
Once we came back, we went to meet my grand uncle and grand aunt. They are octogenarians now and it was lovely to meet them after so many years. They are so incredibly sweet. I loved spending some time with them.
I met two of my old college friends as well, it was just amazing. I met their little baby girls and both of them are really adorable. We reminisced about our carefree college days and caught up with each other.
In the evening I got the famous Haldiram’s sweets for my family and friends. These are the sweets that are available everywhere but the taste of Haldiram’s is impossible to find. I also ate the sweet called Ras malai which is an extremely perishable sweet and I could not carry it back home with me. That taste, it hasn’t changed in all these years; it is truly nostalgic when things remain the same over the years. My aunt made pani puris for dinner for me, they were so delicious! I loved them. I missed out on eating from two of my old restaurants, one being famous for its authentic Chinese food, and the other, for its sizzlers. Both of which I haven’t enjoyed here in Bengaluru.
Now on my flight, as I am typing this blog, I realize just how much I miss my hometown. I saw some things still being the same, I saw some things change over the seven years that I have been away; it all makes me miss this place; where I grew up and where I spent a happy and a carefree childhood. My college, my old home, those streets, those old haunts that I frequented with friends and family, those days, those bittersweet moments, those memories, I miss everything. Nostalgia takes over and gives me goose bumps, makes me smile, makes me cry, makes me totally bonkers. But I don’t regret moving, things happened exactly the way they were supposed to happen.
However, I also miss my home, the home that I have made mine now and this is a place where I have truly settled down and don’t regret it even a little bit. I have made so many friends here, I have my own new haunts here that I frequent, I have my work and so many memories that I have made here. My parents are here, my life isn’t incomplete and I am content. I moved on to a place that would give me many more opportunities to grow, but the place where I grew up will always remain close to my heart and the people who enriched my life will always have a special place in my heart. Though next time I’d rather visit in the winters!