Original Post date on Blogspot :20/02/2016
It happened within a few months. I was a typical “calcatian” enjoying my time out on the lanes and the ghats in the city that has never failed to give me anything a hint less than joy. Coffee house, Baghbazar, college canteen, a metro station south of the city and the vendor cabin of the last train from sealdah on thursdays were my rotating addresses. Home was just a refuge. Addas were my forte, the people my stage and Kolkata was my oyester. I am still not sure about it, but i thought like the city was it for me, it was the place that would have all the chapters of my life written on it , and i was nothing less than glad to be a character in its ever so marvellous novel, be it of a broken heart, joined hands or the bits and pieces of the lips that joined together to make the smile of my life. And thus all of a sudden came the unprecedented “but” in my life and like the whirl of a hot wind in a summer afternoon , brought me to the very next page of my story via the kharagpur villupuram express one fine june morning. And vellore said “Vanakkam.”
Lets be honest, i loathed it since day one. A strict institute in a sub urban part of the southernmost tip of our country was never the place i thought i would end up in. Yes, to the society i had achieved, won a medal round my neck , but to me, i was lost. I was sad, i was homesick and i quickly adjusted to the depressed side of my being , of which i learned after i landed at katpadi junction, Home was a dream and to wake up every morning and walk down to the department in the picturesque campus a nightmare. I had changed my residence from coffee house to the coffee in a steel cup at the college canteen. Though it tasted better but it did not taste like it. The air was cooler in the evenings but it did not smell the same, it smelled of sambar and not of the ghoti gorom at the baghbazar ghat. Department to hostel and back to the department the next morning, life had become a routine with the last train, tea in a clay pot and shyambazar five point crossing all off to sleep clad by the blanket of my memories. The only known faces were the two of my best friends who had apparently had the same ill luck as to get selected here, but all they could help me with were a couple of words from the tongue gifted by my loving mother. I became calm. And trust me, that is not an attribute i look up to.
They say time heals all, but what they don’t is that time also builds all. And just like the sapling on a pot my life started growing around the so far so loathed place. I started to know the people, taste the food, make friends out of corners and yes received with smiles. The smiles, chats, occasional hellos and the wave of hands made me realize that even though I knew how much i hated it here but at the same time CMC and vellore knew exactly how to make me feel loved. And riding on the saddle of the hour glass I had changed and once again started to live by the meaning of it. I started enjoying the hectic department hours sitting in front of the huge list of numbers that meant so much, my mates at the department started owning my secrets and won over the right to make me laugh. Most of them even though do not know the language i speak in but speak much more to me than i ever could wish for. A stroll down the dusty tree clad campus lanes meant meeting hordes of wonderful people just waiting for the opportunity to wave, smile and say “hi” in the most adorable of manners. Smiles came in packets of banana chips and courtyard dances of diwali celebrations,moves of vijay & Jr NTR and the smiles of the people in Adukambarae Kattupadi who fed us till our stomachs burst open even though they had known me for just a day or two.And it was just when i started feeling homely in the bounds of the bagayam campus that home came to me in the form of elder brothers and friends from my land, who did not spare a second before laying their arms on my shoulders. Vellore was slow but it emerged strong. Changes came through “it seems”, “river only”,”thek ache”, rumba chicken, visit to VIT and trips to the fish market , chennai and bangalore,tensions of journal review sessions , birthday celebrations and chicken tikka masala.
As i was returning today through the empty late night vellore roads to my campus, my head laid softly in the seat of the car,with a WB number plate with smiles old and new, a bengali song making its way through my ears, and the sky passed over my eye lashes, i would be a fool if not to accept the fact that i failed to realize that all the time i was nowhere but home. Home is an emotion, a feeling of belongingness and that ever so dark road from thorapadi to the college campus is where i belong now and never did it hesitate to make me a part , it was me who was stupid enough to deny it time and time again. I know vellore is just a chapter and its not forever but it is forever now and i am glad i landed here, to learn a lot so as to teach a bit in the coming few pages.I still miss home, still miss the bed, still miss the lanes but the only difference now is that it does not stop me from enjoying the rusty hostel cot, the beautiful college campus and my wonderful life here in the district of vellore in the southern most state of Tamil Nadu.
Life is Rumba Nalla Irrekke.
to all the people who make my life in vellore so filled with life. and to all those who are home away.