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Posts Tagged ‘Travel

A sense of belonging?

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Current mood: Restrospective

I was talking to AK today and the topic eventually went to the number of places we have lived in, and its advantages. She came up with a term called ‘Traveller’s Temperament’. Her funda was that people who have travelled and seen more cultures have the tendency to acknowledge other’s opinions, be a little more thoughtful and a lot of other stuff.

I have lived in Bombay for 16 years, 2 years in Chennai, 4 in Tanjore (a small city with rich heritage in Tamil Nadu), followed by 2 years in Cochin, and now more than 1 year in Bangalore. On retrospection, it is amazing to see the way I have changed, and probably accepted different ways of thinking over this period.

Mumbai was fun, full of innocence, with a Don’t-Give-A-Damn attitude. Some of my closest friends are from Mumbai, we have probably been such great friends for over a decade now. Chennai was a complete shift from Mumbai, when it came to outlook of the people. Personally, I never liked Chennai. There was a conservative outlook that was almost a farce. The kind of conservative outlook that was (and is) prevalent in Chennai is largely because of the fear of the society, than actually believing in it. Tanjore was special in a lot of ways. I became independent there. Staying in a hostel, being with people who were entirely different from me, in every angle, I realised the importance of detachment there. I guess, it was in Tanjore that I stopped trusting people. I made mistakes, which I won’t make. I did good things, that I would do forever. To be judicious was something I learnt there I guess. I guess, Tanjore made me a big fish in a small pond, and I loved it. Cochin was entirely different. I made friends, and professional friends. I was responsible for a larger entity. The detachment grew. Now, bangalore is a complete mix of party, fun and absolute professional friendship. The decisions have to be practical, rather than emotional. I can safely say that I can make the most logical and judicious decisions today.

Now for the question. Is this good? from a professional stand point, definitely Yes. From a social perspective, I would tend to agree again. Having seen so many people, I guess I shall be able to work and socialize with them comfortably. But then when asked ‘Where do I want to settle down eventually?’, things are not that rosy. Mumbai? Chennai? Or Bangalore? (I am ruling out Tanjore and Cochin myself). I go back to Mumbai, and I am left with friends whom I know for over a decade. But still there is a vacuum. A gap left behind. I have some really close friends in Chennai. But I wont settle there. I am really different from the kind of mindset that persists there. I might never be able to satisfy the expectations of the extended family. Does that leave me with Bangalore as the option? No.

The problem is… in the process of ‘Maturing mentally’ I fear, I have lost the sense of belonging to any particular place. And that scares me. As I told AK, I might have the most logical answer to the question “Where do you want to settle down?”, But I don’t have an emotional answer. And this is one of those questions, which mandate an emotional answer as well.

I got this line from AK’s blog, and like her, it pretty much summed up how I am feeling now:

“And underneath it all, there remained an ever-present anger and hurt, the feeling of belonging nowhere that comes to people who belong everywhere.”

White Teeth by Zadie Smith


Written by shivnarayan

Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 12:40 am