ramblings of an aimless mind

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The best place to live.

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Often have I been involved in discussion about good cities/places to live. “Pune is an amazing place to live in”, “Bangalore rocks!!”, “nothing like Delhi!”, “Bombay!! mannnnnn!!” are just a few of the statements that go around at such times. During my school life these used to make quite an impression and I used to conjure up images of people living in these “dream cities” perenially doing something which made life more eventful/fun than that for those of us who had to live outside them. In later years, however, my education and profession turned me into more of a nomad and the experience has given me a more mature take on the topic.

Living in one of the “happening” cities does have its advantages. One can grab a sandwich at midnight after a long day in office, there are a host of pubs and bars that await one’s patronship when the body craves for alcohol; and for the adams and eves interested in huge populations of each other, this sure is Eden. These are places that never sleep, the lights are always on, the cars always roaring, the streets crowded and a level of energy that would rival a small nuclear reactor. All this geared towards one motive…work hard, party harder…..

… and then there are people like me, for whom lying in bed staring at the ceiling and thinking of such intellectual matters like “the best place to live” is as good as any party with loud music and frenetic dancing. And with the “party harder” part taken care of so easily, why really bother with the “work hard” ?

Most of my life has been spent in quiet locales. Schooling in Goa, where people, far from never sleeping, sometimes spent days never waking up. Moved to studying in Kanpur, where I was shielded from the unsavoury traits of an Uttar Pradesh city by our vast, sylvan and again, pretty much idyllic university campus. It was thus with great expectation that I arrived in Pune for my first job, excited at the prospect of being able to do hitherto never done activities like “socialising”. I mean, the dictionary meaning simply says that it involved meeting friends and other human beings, but then it did not seem to count until this meeting was in a select few cities. Lots of my friends had similar dreams I think, and we spent a very happy few days tramping all over Pune, picking out the most popular streets, hang out joints, restaurants and the one sole pub that seemed to look more sophisticated than those bars where hindi movie heroes go when they are dejected…in their movies I mean.

By and by, the desire waned and I once again took to lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to convince myself that I should go out. But the few months of Pune life was no contest to the years of Goan conditioning and ultimately I used to just roll over and fall asleep.

Next stop, Mangalore. Goa’s little cousin a bit southwards along the west coast of India. What made it more interesting was my circle of friends, all good-life-having-fun-in-Pune hopefuls, for whom having to live in Mangalore was not too far from being imprisoned in the Chateau d’If. Complaints about how the place was was dead and done with were frequent and nostalgia about Pune was even more so. Though I never mentioned it out of a fear of being cast out from the group, I kind of enjoyed the place. It had one nice ice cream parlour (which closed at 10pm sharp), was small enough for an avid walker like me to cover from end to end in an hour, had amazingly good and inexpensive eating places, a plentiful supply of drink and a person could actually get a little bit of pure oxygen in every breath. Not to forget the proximity to the sea and the open roof restaurants where one could sit and catch the sea breezes for a good 2-3 hours without being bothered by people waiting to pounce on our table before anyone else did. Sure Pune offered more choice and a more flashy ambience but then as long as there are a couple of good friends around, good food is still good food, good movies are still good movies and a couple of hours spent chatting and laughing are still equally enjoyable.

For some reason though I think fate wanted to give me another chance at being a party animal and I landed in Hyderabad, one of India’s fastest growing cities. Here I routinely take noisy autorickshaws and travel half an hour to work, every time some one calls me when I am out of home, I duck into the nearest store to escape the ambient noise and I spend 5 minutes (literally!!) looking left and right with an occasional glance up and down before crossing a road.

Big cities have their charm, but for me its the small town anyday. Swimming in a sea of water rather than that of humanity and the small pleasures like crossing a street without having to look on either side, or maybe standing in the middle of it, stretching ones arms wide and shouting “I’m the king of the world!!” a la Leo Di Caprio in Titanic. Except I cannot ask for a Kate Winslet, she will most likely be in a disco in some far away “happening” city…


Written by clueso

May 9, 2006 at 10:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Nice blog you have written. Its true, no matter where you live the immediate company or people with whom you interact on a daily basis are all that matter. If you are fond of staring at the cieling lying in your bed, you can do it in Pune in just the same way as you do it in M’lore or Goa 🙂


    May 10, 2006 at 11:28 am

  2. Been pondering on this myself, and have short listed a few places. Let’s talk 🙂


    November 10, 2006 at 2:59 am

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