Ever since I was born, I have moved houses a lot. At twenty, I can boast of being a relocating expert having experienced about seven house-changing ceremonies!
I was born in Chennai in June 1997. Of course, I don’t remember much of my life then, but I do remember attending play-school here. There was one Reena Aunty whom I admired a lot. She had gravity-defying curly hair and very kind eyes. The Creche was a colourful room, with bright vivid shades of pink, blue and yellow splattered on the wall. Mickey Mouse, Daisy Duck and Tom & Jerry peered down at us cheerfully like revered saints. This was a very happy phase of my life and I even received a pre-school diploma for it!
When I turned three, we moved to Mangalore. From here, the mental fog clears and gives way to images of heavy rain, winding Ghat roads and dense green trees. We bought new wood furniture for our flat and also a bamboo swing just for me! I remember swinging on it so vigorously that the iron chain that suspended it, sliced off a lizard’s tail, unknown to me. The then-four-year-old me did not freak out (which my twenty-year-old self can’t imagine) and looked at it in awe as the orange dismembered tail wiggled like a dancing Thumbelina-carrot. I will spare you the gross details of what followed.
Mangalore was where I started formal schooling. Apparently, I was the only child who didn’t cry on the first day at Nazareth Kindergarten! In fact, I was very confused as to why the other kids were crying! When my mom said bye, I simply waved back and obediently held on to the teacher’s hand and didn’t even turn back!
I spent three wonderful years under the tutelage of the nuns of the one-hundred-fifty-year old Mission. Only happy memories of hopping-races, fancy dress contests and glittering star-stickers exist in my brain.
Next, we moved to Vasco da Gama in Goa. When people think of Goa, all they can imagine are beaches, wine, more beaches and more wine. Being a kid, I was enthralled only by the first and the third! There was still a lot of Portuguese influence in Goa, evident from the names, culture and language.
During this phase, I encountered bullying for the very first time in life. Being a seven-year-old girl and being new made me eligible to be crowned as the new bullying victim in my neighbourhood. There were times when my mom tried to make peace with them, but until the time I left Vasco, only two of them were nice to me.
School, on the other hand, was a lovely experience. I did most of my primary schooling here in Goa. We would go out on class picnics often to the beaches, Portuguese hamlets and adventure zones. I made new friends and we would spend time making friendship bands and writing poems together.
During the weekends, my family would make our traditional visit to Panaji. A fancy dinner, a movie at Inox and a cruise on the Mandovi river were mandatory. Most of all, I enjoyed the cruise. The flickering colourful lights of the boat as it gently danced to the rhythm of the river, coupled with the European strains of the violin, were enough to get us all on our feet and dance along.
Soon, it was time to leave Vasco for Bangalore. It was a complete contrast to the sleepy and take-it-easy vibe of Goa. Traffic-choked roads and towering buildings gave a picture of a very rushed and reckless life. But there were also beautiful gardens and exotic restaurants that appealed a lot to me. Plus, no more sweating! I immediately fell in love with Bangalore.
Bangalore is till date, the place where I have stayed the longest – six years. I completed secondary school in a very reputed institute that I am very proud of. We moved houses within Bangalore as well, after we purchased our own apartment here. From the balcony, the skyline represented what Bangalore really stood for. On one side, you could see towering skyscrapers trying to stab the clouds while on the other side, lush green velvety cover of the trees fought their war.
I have mixed memories about Bangalore. Hanging out with my friends at the mall, fighting over the wrong pizza, rehearsing for the annual school play and simply enjoying every school day as it dawned – homework completed or not! In hindsight, I realise, I miss school very much! If only I could go back! In the evenings, my mum and I would sit by the lake and let its cool breeze kiss our faces. We would hug each other for warmth and remain silent to the hushed voices of the water. I was very grateful for this every day after my mum had a near-death experience early-on in our lives at Bangalore.
Next, we moved to Madurai – a southern city in Tamil Nadu. And before you ask me, no I did not visit the Meenakshi temple every day. We did visit the temple probably three or four times and we loved it! It is said that the temple was designed by the architect of the Gods and you cannot deny it! The architecture and sheer size of the temple are beyond words!
In Madurai, I finally completed my schooling with a distinction. My school was very proud of me and so am I. In fact, as the prize for winning an essay contest, I was offered an all-expense-paid ten-day trip to Europe! It is one of the best things that has ever happened to me so far! (I will save that story for another day!)
However, owing to some unfortunate incidents in Madurai, we moved to Chennai – where I am currently. The change in perception is very similar to that of the move from Goa to Bangalore. However, I was no more a kid and there was a sudden demand for my maturity.
Apart from the Marina, which Chennai is well-known for, it has got a lot of good libraries that I like to explore. I even wrote a story set in one of them!
About Chennai, I don’t have much to say. Is it because I am still here and hence cannot ‘think of it fondly?’ I don’t know. I go through a monotonous life, thanks to my three-year internship and studies and I am desperate for a change!
Time for a new place! Where do you think I should go next?