The beginning of college will always be associated with a thrum of activity—
sorting, packing, moving out, leaving, moving in.
A year in, and it still feels entirely new and fresh,
and yet at the same time absolutely familiar.
Most of the time, I still feel like I am trying to find my feet.
The first day still feels like yesterday.
I began college telling myself that I just need to take it one day at a time.
But somehow, in getting through each day,
I find that I have made myself a life here.
A big part of the first semester was moving across the country.
I left the city I grew up in for a new one.
While Cochin is like flowing water,
Delhi seems rough and abrasive,
with sharp jagged ends that could cut me if I pushed too hard.
I learned to cross roads,
to bargain with rickshaw drivers,
to speak louder in my clumsy Hindi,
to not let myself get pushed around.
Delhi has given me callouses.
It has stolen away some softness.
I miss the water of home the most.
The swift rivers, the gentle backwaters, the expansive beaches.
Delhi has nowhere from which I can watch the water.
But Delhi has other things.
The lawns of college, where I have whiled away afternoons talking about nothing.
The narrow lanes of Majnu Ka Tila that assault the senses.
The booksellers of Connaught Place from where I never leave empty-handed.
The joy of human connection in making eye contact with a stranger on the metro. The thrill I feel every time someone asks me for directions,
because it means I am finally finally blending in.
Cochin is home.
Cochin embraced me from when I was a baby.
It cocooned and enveloped and protected.
It sang lullabies in my ear and put me to sleep.
Delhi does not sing.
Delhi demands as much of me as I from it.
Delhi tells me that if I want to be here, I must act like I want it.
And I find, the longer I stay,
the more I do.
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