Discovering a new city

Born and raised in Chennai as I am, I have always looked down a bit on other cities, especially what we may call Tier 2 cities within the state. The only exceptions to this rule were Mumbai and Delhi by virtue of being the biggest metros in the country. Even Kolkata, while being somewhat bigger than Chennai, still retained the characteristics of a small town and was a city I didn’t really consider on par with my beloved Chennai.

Growing up into adolescence, I often wondered why affluent uncles returning to India from,overseas chose to invest in property in Coimbatore as opposed to Chennai, which would have the obvious, and perhaps only choice for me had I been in their place. In my ignorance, I remember asking my mother if Coimbatore had restaurants and places to see that way Chennai did.

This image of Coimbatore as a small town lingered on in my memory into adulthood despite several short-duration visits to visit assorted relatives. When I met S, I realised that I was going to have to adopt Coimbatore as a hometown sooner or later. So attached was he to the place of his birth and childhood that he harboured (still harbours) dreams of going back to Coimbatore in a few years and settling down there.

As our courtship matured into marriage, I began to hear more and more about Coimbatore. During our visits, he would drive around the city showing me all these places he associated with his childhood. The schools in which he studied, PSGCAS, the ubiquitous Annapoorna, the parks, the roads and the roadside bhel puri shop became part of my life too. I slowly, but surely warmed to the idea of Coimbatore and began to consider it a second home. Second. To Chennai.

Circumstances forced me to spend 17 days of August in Coimbatore. Although I found it hard to adjust initially, I began to enjoy the feel of living in the city. I rediscovered the joys of living in an independent house, one that I had forgotten since we moved out of my grandparents’ home in 2002. I enjoyed the morning chores and the chirping of birds. I relished the possibility of picking fresh curry leaves from the plant for my rasam, and picking guavas off the tree for a snack.

In these three week, I find that I am no longer averse to the idea of settling down in Coimbatore. What seemed like a punishment when S first mentioned it two years ago now seems a pleasant thought. Is this what discovering a new city feels like?

5 thoughts on “Discovering a new city

  1. Jay Bee says:

    A lovely post! And it’s especially encouraging as I’m becoming more and more averse to leaving the city that I’m currently settled in… you made me remember that leaving something warm and cozy behind in order to discover something new and exciting doesn’t always have to be paired with insecurity and estrangement. Thank you for that, and may you be very happy wherever it is that you make your home! The most important thing, after all, is to be with your partner.

    • Amrutha says:

      Thanks a lot Joolz. I was very resistant to the idea of change initially, but now the idea seems more and more appealing. I suppose sometime you need to let go of something to get something better.

      All the best with everything in your life. A new city and a new life are sometimes just what you need! πŸ™‚

  2. Sriram says:

    You’ve kindled my childhood memories πŸ™‚ Annapoorna (the balcony seat always gave me the thrills), roadside bhel puri cart, Lakshmi complex, weekend trips to Ooty, and that Kovai accent. Thanks for this post πŸ™‚

  3. Vinay says:

    Coimbatore allias Kovai..! One of my favourite too. Cherish those 2 years almost 10 years back! You post have taken me back then..good old memories..On the new city feelings, I believe any city has its share of positives and areas of improvement. If you see and judge any city like an outsider, you will always be an outsider and will never integrate. Unless we integrate or at least accept the cultural nuances of the new city, city will never accept us. Good one Amrutha!

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