Most of you know HAAthi, the talented cook, who loves to blog about food and life in general. I say cook first because cooking – and food – is such an important part of her life. That comes through from her blog clearly enough.
I have been reading HAAthi for quite some time now. As much as I enjoy her recipes and her food-related posts, I love her other posts, too. She writes posts that are flowing, reflective of her deep thought processes and her belief in living life consciously.
Some time back, I had asked the lovely lady for a guest post, and she kindly obliged. She chose to write about finding ‘home’ in Goa, after a long time in Bangalore, which left her feeling tired and listless. I found the post interesting because it gave me a glimpse into life in Goa, which people usually see as a tourist destination.
So, here’s presenting to you… HAAthi! 🙂
Coming home to Goa
There are some people who have criss-crossed cities all their lives. Hopping from one place to another, settling in only long enough to find their feet. But the minute even the slightest roots begin to sprout, it’s time to pick up and move. Sometimes by choice, sometimes by circumstance. And each time they restart life from scratch with perfect ease. Changing cities, like changing clothes. Out with the old, in with the new. Almost seamlessly, almost effortlessly. And they embrace the unfamiliarity with open arms, and have multiple cities to call home.
I am not one of them.For 25 years, I lived in one city alone – Bangalore. At every point that life threw up the opportunity to move, I have almost always chosen to stay. I didn’t move for college. I didn’t even move for a job. I didn’t move for higher studies either. Heck, I didn’t even move for marriage. Bangalore was all I knew. And yet, I no longer think of Bangalore as my home. I cast away the title like an old pair of socks. And slipped into a shiny, bright new pair. The move and the acceptance of it was startlingly easy.
Even as the husband nonchalantly applied for a job in Goa, fine-tuning his resume and getting the words down pat, we chuckled at the absurdity of the situation.
“Who goes to Goa, to work anyway?” we said. But just 6 months later, I realised we were just the kind of people crazy enough to do that.
Packing my life into three bags and 13 boxes, we moved. Before I knew it, I was frantically calling brokers, choosing homes, picking curtains, buying a washing machine and doing everything in my limited capacity to make Goa my home. It’s hard not to, when you find yourself in a place where everything is just so warm, open and welcoming. Three years down, there are still moments when I stop in my tracks and wonder how this came to be. Often people ask us how adapting to a small town has been, coming from the fast-paced life that is Bangalore, and it does make me wonder even more.
What makes a city home? For me it has been an amalgamation of many things, but above all it was the sense of liberation from the chaos that was my life in Bangalore. In Bangalore I was restless, and in Panjim I found a steady pace. I found my feet, dug my heels in, and have since stayed there with a sense of purpose, sense of self, and a feeling of having finally come home.
Coming to Goa was like falling in love with a stranger, at first glance. Knowing nothing about him, but just a mere glance from a distance is enough to turn your knees to jell-o and give you that inexplicable feeling like the air has been sucked out of your stomach. You don’t know him, but you know you love him. Has that ever happened to you?
As a city, Panjim is the diametric opposite of everything that drove me away from Bangalore. After months of commuting through jam-packed streets, the sheer pandemonium that is just getting through life in Bangalore, and the palpable pseudo-race whether on the streets or at work or in social circles that I felt trapped in, in Bangalore, were undone in Goa.
Sometimes I find the worst clichés to be the perfect words to describe a feeling, so pardon me here, but Goa was like a breath of fresh air that welcomed me just the way I hoped it would. Surreal, therapeutic and just everything Bangalore was not. It forced me to be still. It gave me a kind of freedom I would never have known in Bangalore. It has taught me to enjoy and crave solitude. To use my time well. And it has given me a simpler life.
But the real proof that Goa is now where I belong hits home every time I visit Bangalore. Much as I love going back to what was home, being pampered by parents, spending quality family time, going back to all my favourite restaurants, I realise that that is all really left of the good old Bangalore I knew and loved. And within a couple of days, my heart longs for the peace and quiet of my cocoon in Goa. From the moment I land back and begin the gentle drive homewards from the airport, that sense of calm comes rushing back. My pulse slows down, my head declutters itself, and I feel at ease again.
So, if my equation with Goa began as a baseless infatuation, a love-at-first-sight kind of encounter, then the wonderful three years that have passed here have been nothing short of an amorous love affair. The perfect balance.With just the right amount of give and take, space when you need it, intimacy when you need it. Of sneaking silent kisses in undiscovered alleys. Of whispering sweet nothings on full-moon nights. Of discovering something new about each other every single day, and feeling young, free and alive. Of feeling that flutter in your heart, and the spark that never dies. Complete with the heartache that comes with being separated, even for a few hours.
Bangalore was once the city I belonged to. It was the city that housed me for a quarter of my life. But the ease with which I slipped into life in Panjim, and the beautiful three years that have followed, make me sure that Goa is where I always belonged.
Bangalore is the city I came from, but this right here is home.
Note: All pictures in this post have been provided by the guest blogger.