I have spent the past few years of my life in a city that is known for its lakes. And we are quite enamored by our lakes; to the point of the city’s culture itself thriving around those watery cradles.
Being where I was, it comes as a surprise- to me- that I have not written about any of that. I am not qualified enough; I know I have not spent much time here or read the city like some intellectuals have done before me. I never even quite considered myself a denizen as much as I thought of myself as ghost who wandered into a strange land- an outsider who was made to feel at home, rather forcibly.
There is something about nature. She holds you still and makes you look at her; and when she lets go, you are changed. Ever so gently, she wakes something inside you; a child that got lost somewhere in the labyrinth of adulthood, or traveler who could never leave his four-walled prison. She holds his hand and picks him up. She dances with him- a slow, sensuous waltz to the rhythm of a cool breeze and the harmony of a small bird. You do not realize what’s happening until you reach a certain climax and you are face with what could only be an epiphany of sorts. Unfortunately, instead of savoring this moment of absolute bliss you foolishly move on.
I live conveniently placed at a stone’s throw from two water bodies. I would not go into their objective beauty, nor would I delve into their mass appeal. However, as someone who has spent quite a few of his evenings watching the sun drown into blood-red water and who has skipped his fair share of stones over the tranquil, glassy surface of a pond- I think I have the right reminisce about the city that made me a poet; even more so, for I may never come back again.
Crowded it is, undoubtedly, any day but you can find your spot and settle down. It is not hard to shut out the squalor and squabble of the gentry. Not hard to build your own little piece of heaven.
Of course, the squalor is half the charm. The crowded, sweaty streets of the old town where history itself sits down for a nice plate of poha-jalebi; the wide(r) avenues of the new city; the lakes; the dams; the people- all of it juxtaposed against each other in a charmingly haphazard manner. The chaos provides a stark contrast to the lazy pace at which the city itself moves. It breathes in long, cool breezes as if enjoying a picturesque summer evening on one of its quintessential lake shore. The city lives to love.