Friday, March 11, 2011

What vizag means to me.

Visakhapatnam (vizag), my hometown is a place that is caught up in the wheels of development. I fondly remember the scenic beauty that surrounded my house 15 years ago - the chance to watch the sun rise and set in the hills , a couple of miles away from my house. Today, four apartment complexes surround my house and the distance my gaze can travel is highly limited. While mornings used to be a calm affair during my childhood, these days I wake up to the honking of the automobiles at 6 in the morning. Offices of WIPRO and Satyam, shopping malls and multiplex theaters are a testament to the fervor with which Vizag is trying to modernize itself. In spite of all these developments the city still retains the old charm, that keeps me in love with it. Be it the old grocery shop across the road that hasn't changed in the last twenty years or the morning bells from the temple down street or the afternoon and evening prayers from the masjid nearby my house. You can still go to the old vegetable vendor pushing the cart and ask for some kosaru (something in a tiny quantity that is given free for the purchase). Coming back to relive these small memories of my childhood is what I desperately long for.

However, a huge part of what makes vizag special to me is my family. My parents are not just parts that complete a circle but are also foundations for a way of life. Travelling is not a new thing for me and having traveled abroad quite a few times over the last four years , I can feel a big change in my lifestyle. For a kid from the small sleepy town of vizag, such experiences can have the negative effect of developing a false pretense and attitude. My parents negate such an effect. For them I remain the same inspite of what I achieved and what I have become. Whenever I am home my mother expects me to take bath before heading for breakfast. My father's constant arguments about how I should be praying to god daily or visit a temple once a week are small things that keep me tied to the roots. Their ability to look at life in a different perspective and use philosophy to get a clearer picture of various aspects amazes me. In a way , they keep me grounded and show me who I really am.

I see myself split in two parts. One that enjoys the coffee at Starbucks or a movie with friends at one of Bangalore's multiplexes. But the other side desperately longs for the tea and biscuit at home , along with the numerous delicacies that my mom can make. I am sure it is the same with most people of my generation. There will undoubtedly come a time when this balancing act of my parents diminishes. When they pass out of this world , they not only take away their presence that kept me in check but also leave a great void that is too deep to fill. I might not return to Vizag and might never experience the old and no nonsense lifestyle they provided, I might never be able to tell them how I truly felt, but I will be way too grateful for their presence, the experiences, memories, knowledge and the support they provided. I just hope they know it.

PS : Inspired by my two lives by Jumpa Lahiri.