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Friday, 8 April 2016

Guwahati



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Image from Google






For writing about anything which starts from G, Guwahati is what it is going to be. Everyone phrases his own relationship with the city one is born in, where one struggles to sculpt his own identity and fit the jigsaw puzzle called 'I'.

The wonder years were spent in a house just on the foothills of Kalapahar , where after rains which were very frequent the echo  of a cascading waterfall would put me to sleep. A house which was constructed and extended all hap hazard whenever grandpa or father could get hands on some cash. Grandparents, uncle, aunt and many more relatives who visited off and on, it used to be a full house. No fencing with neighbours and i slid in through their bamboo gate whenever i pleased. Though because of father,s postings we moved around Assam but it was that house we came in to and i always knew it to be home.

Compared to the rest of the city an area which hardly could see any development over the decades, i studied in a decent average school ( English medium school to be precise). A quite shy girl lost in the world of books is how i remember myself and few friends who were as shy and as introvert as me. Books, dreams, very little outdoor activity and i moved to college . Cotton College was father,s dream college and by stepping there i knew somehow i had not let him down. The relation with the city saw new facets as i roamed through Pan Bazar... the dream place for me then, had chowmein at Revati,s on the bank of a weeded pond in the heart of the city, explored the book shops and secretly thought a job at Pan Bazar would be the best thing i can have in life. Though it changed very soon and like all i wanted to step out of the city and the state and see more.

Average performance... i continued to complete my education in the city. Graduation in an average college near home as Cotton College needed more than i could give. The river was far from my house but when you live in Guwahati for more than twenty years i guess Brahmaputra flows through you. Whenever i entered Guwahati from outside, the sight of the river raised some waves in heart and the homecoming was complete. Hills, river and the greens all around... rains, clouds and a clear blue sky all were taken for granted. House with coconut, betel nut trees spread all around... though members of the house receded slowly, grandpa was to leave first, then aunt moved away and then uncle and my father carried on with his postings and grandma changed her abode with other uncle and aunts periodically. Sometimes ma, me and bhai were too little for the large house and always could not slid into neighbour,s house any more.

Guwahati University was the place where the green world lived to its fullest.... as i passed by the river on my way to the lovely university scattered on the side of the lush green hills...aah did i take all the beauty around me for granted!! I struggled there in the city looking for a living, posted several applications in Meghdoot Bhawan ( Isn,t the name too romantic for the main post office building), bought several forms sold outside the building to apply for all jobs available and my toiling through out the length and breadth of Pan Bazar.

The city where my culinary senses were roused through momos, chowmein and north indian food and my shopping needs met full to the core by the alleys of Fancy Bazar. Puja shopping with ma and friends and the maddening crowd. Though like most of the cities in India it was never safe for women... yet we women ' adjust' and i loved the city.. its all bits and parts unless they were a part of me.

Like most of the relations of the past, the intensity ebbed with time as i moved on to different cities looking for career. And when i visited home, well the old home changed as parents moved to and a  new place and with granny,s death the soul of the house departed as well. Urbanisation had reached my part of the town to a great extent, hills barely visible, ripped apart of greens and concrete structures visible in abundance... rains are not incessant anymore nd a little bit of rain cause huge water logging with deforestation everywhere. University looks almost same but huge traffic snarls in and around and sleek highways constructed bypassing it.

I still don,t know which house i call my own... the one i live in now, the one where parents stay or the one which sighs quietly beneath trees... no i last heard it was given to agents to demolish off and construct a three to four storey building. And the city... lives within me as a part of my past oblivious of the present.