Kolkata taught Me How To Fly
[This article is a translated version of my previous article in Bangla, Kolkata Gave Me Wings]
People often ask me why I left Kolkata, that too after the historic Poriborton, given the fact that i swear by the city, and Bengal at large, at the drop of a hat. More often than not, the questions come across as snide remarks, from my “well-wishers” on Twitter or Facebook, whose sole existence seems to evolve around denigrating my online presence. Although i care a hoot about such lumpen elements, sometimes the question does put me to unease, when i face myself in the mirror.
A few days ago i came across an article in The Times Of India, where a lady describes her Kolkata connection as unfortunate, and feels ashamed to even mention that on her CV. Not that the article had a great literary value – it was mostly a case of blowing one’s own trumpet, rather than pointing out the flaws in the city – but the article made me think, question my own experience. The introspection makes me forever indebted to Kolkata.
When I first arrived in Kolkata in 2005 (my phone was stolen on the first day itself on the Metro), i barely had an idea of how the city would turn into my muse. Hailing from a small town in North Bengal, securing a position in the prestigious Presidency College (with a rank of 4 in the admission test, which was taken by thousands), Kolkata taught me how to fly. Kolkata gave me an identity; it was here that i found my future, my love, my passion. It was during my 8-year long stay that i discovered myself, dove into the innermost recesses of my heart and soul, figured out the hitherto unknown facets of life, earned the jewels called friends, whom i shall cherish forever.
People call me parochial. Some loathe me for looking down upon other states and being arrogant of my Bangaliana. Why should I not be? Kolkata gave me Tagore. She gave me Ritu Da’s films. It was here that my voice found a platform – humanism was never lost on Kolkata. People value even a stranger in the city; that is what sets my Tilottama apart from a Bombay or a Bengaluru. Tiding over crises, living a life full of pride and joy – where could you find that except in the City of Joy.
I have lived in Bengaluru for more than a year now, and i discovered the meaning of life here. Behind the gleam of the shopping malls or the happening city-life, there lies an eternal darkness that will engulf your soul. People are so busy running the rat race, that they seldom notice. But with my heart yearning for my city, i could only fathom the lifelessness of India’s Silicon Valley. Bangalore is like that beautiful mannequin that lures you into the mirage of “happiness”. But can money buy happiness? Bangalore made me fall in love with Kolkata over and over again. The spontaneity and the soul of the city was conspicuous by its absence here.
Even as I longed for my Bishu Pagol (refer Raktakarabi by Tagore) to free me from the lure of Raja (read Bengaluru), i wish to withhold the reason of my parting with Kolkata. I pride myself for being true to my commitment for my city, but also accept the hard truth of life that the show must go on.
We must move on…..