FOR OTHERS IT IS A CITY, FOR SOME AN EMOTION…

My true-blue Bengali father though residing outside Bengal for the past 50 odd years can never really forget reminiscing his days in Shibpur University and his days in Kolkata.  Since I was little, I have heard stories of his college and childhood so many times, sometimes reminding him that “Baba, we have heard it before!”

I got married and came to Mumbai in 2002 and this city of dreams has had a huge impact on me and now I cannot fathom myself residing anywhere else.  I fondly talk about Mumbai with my family and friends who don’t reside here, and I can see them getting bored after a while.  After all, they won’t relate to the passion that I feel for this city.

My Bong husband was born and brought up in a small town called Sundernagar near Mandi in Himachal Pradesh.  Every time we visit Sundernagar my adult husband becomes a child.  He goes back to his childhood days and animatedly describes where he played, the temple, his school, those adventures!

A village, town or city is an emotion.  It becomes part of us.  Thanks to my father’s various job changes, I grew up in different towns but couldn’t feel the same way for each place.  What makes a certain place so special?  It’s the fond memories, the people, the events..

My husband’s childhood in Himachal, my father’s youth in Kolkata and my memories of blooming from a hapless new bride from a small town to a smart woman in a big city are the reasons for the places being so close to the heart. 

Now I can understand why my father speaks so fondly of his days in Shibpur, which sometimes we can’t relate to or get bored of!  It’s exactly the same what my non-Mumbaikar friends or relatives feel when I go on and on about aamchi Mumbai. 

For some it’s just a city, for others it’s an emotion…

RITWIKA MUTSUDDI

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