Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!
-John Howard Payne
The lines stuck in my head since the last couple of weeks. Staying there. Stuck there. Bringing a sense of loss along with nostalgia with a feeling, that its never going to be the same.
My parents relocated to Delhi more than 3 years back but the relocation didn't really happen in my mind. The doors have now been closed finally. The house put up for rent. I feel a certain antagonism for the strangers who will now be living there...There's going to be a lot of ranting and cribbing here now... need an outlet...some of it may not make sense...some will be absurd...but you've got no choice...if you happen to come here, you have to listen to me...:-)
Ahmedabad has always been my home, my city, where I belong...and now I am bereft of it. My entire schooling was done there. I had a lot of childhood and school friends from this city (though I dont know where most of them are now), all the uncles and aunties and their children who were also my friends. They were invariably present on most of the occasions in my life. My birthdays and my marraige. My brother's birthdays and his engagement. They were all there. The neem tree near my house is familiar. Without its presence, we would miss the turn to our house. Honest Paav Bhaaji yet exists. The ice golas on the road. I learnt cycling there...on my own :-) (I am proud of it...). I got a lot of broken knees and bruises while playing with colony friends. My red BSA SLR...how can I forget her. My red Tobu tricycle. The lawn tennis academy near Gurukul road. Kanoria Arts centre where I went to learn sketching. Shreyas Foundation - where I learnt to swim. The tailor under the neem tream near the Shreyas Foundation who turned many of my jeans into shorts. IIMA. The chai wala near IIMA. The chinese corner near IIM. ATIRA. IMA. CG Road. The municipal market. CG road during Navratri & New Year. Law Garden. Bargaining at Law Garden and the wonderful chaniya cholis along with all the traditional junk jewellery at Law Garden. The street food at Law Garden and their very small amusement park.
Mount Carmel High School. Was and am proud to be Carmelite. My primary school at Khanpur, near Hotel Cama had a fabulous river side view. Of course, I was too young to realise it then. Remember taking Sunil Gavaskar's autograph on my hands when he had come down to our school. I remember Sr. Wilma, Ms Sandra, Ms Lopez. The Middle and the High School were at Navrangpura. Sr Flavia Dias, Sr Dulcine, Ms Mary Flory (who along with her brother Rody Flory became our neighbours at Judges Bungalows Road). Can't forget Ms. Ludvina who taught us needle work. David Colaco, our first 'active' sports coach who formed the first basketball team of our school of which I was its proud team member. Mrs Priya Kale, Mrs Sahai, Mrs Kerawala were my favourite teachers and of course Sr. Nirmalini :-).
Post my board exams of class X, I changed my school to St Xaviers Loyola Hall. Cannot forget Father Morondo. He was the best. Yet remember our inter school cultural festival - the Odyssey and of course the orange popsicles for Rs. 1 each :-). The school socials and the garba night and yes of course the class celebrated Raksha Bandhan too :-P. All through my school at Carmel and Xaviers, Chitra had been at my side. My "besty". I am in touch with her (thank God for small mercies :-)). Lot of my other school friends, Abhimanyu, Jeeshan, Jason, Errol, Kunal, Neha, Jaya & Sumati - I am not in touch with them. There are on my facebook friends list but thats different. I remember celebrating Christmas at Chitra's place. Going for the mid night mass. I remember the delicious fried fish - the first one - which I had. Her mom had prepared in a true Kerala style. I took an hour to eat :-). Yes - I remember that too!!! I miss Navratri. Remember how we used to take out our Kinetics and Scooties, drive around in our Chaniya Cholis and go visiting the different colleges and clubs and enjoy dancing to garba - raas. And then later stuff ourselves at IIMA with paav bhaaji because that would be the only place open at 4 AM in the morning.
There are so many memories which are flooding my mind right now and there's no way I can capture all this. But I know one thing, I am going to miss Ahmedabad terribly. Its not just because my parents are not living there anymore, its more than that. I grew up there. There are tons and tons of wonderful memories. I am going to miss going to Ahmedabad. But it shall always be where I come from, where I belong. My city.