Sunday, August 22, 2010

looking back at the last 6 months of my life

There are some kinds of people who have moved cities all their lives. Hopped from one place to another, restarting life from scratch every time they had a new beginning. I am not one of them. For 25 years, I lived in one city alone. Bangalore. I didn’t move for college. I didn’t even move for a job. I didn’t move for higher studies either. At every point that life posed a choice for me to move, I ended up choosing to stay. I knew nothing else. Bangalore is the city I grew up in, the city I will always go back to, the city I call home.

In March this year, I left Bangalore, to make Goa my home. The larger reason was a new job for the husband. But there were several underlying reasons why we chose to move, and more importantly to a smaller, slower town, very unlike Bangalore. While most people assumed that going from Bangalore to Goa meant a more happening and party-active life, the husband and I know the real difference the move has made to our lives.

Moving to Goa meant changing our lives a whole lot. For one it meant saying goodbye to friends and family whom we otherwise took a lot for granted. Everyone was just a phone call away, easy to catch up with and pretty much never too far to go and meet. It also meant saying goodbye to the conveniences of city life: public transport, fast broadband internet, quick service on everyday amenities. In Bangalore everything is a phone call away, or at the most a drive away. I refrain from saying “a short drive” because going anywhere in Bangalore never involves a short drive, and it’s nothing short of a pain these days. Moving to Goa also meant saying goodbye to the luxury of living with parents who somehow were always one step ahead of us and looked out for us in every way possible. Being in Goa threw us straight in charge of ourselves, our home and everything else we needed. We also said goodbye to the variety of places to eat out, the number of watering holes and malls. In Goa we were limited to Panjim’s few eateries, the single Chinese restaurant, and a couple of pubs. Basically we've said goodbye to all the choices we had, and narrowed it down to the very basic few things we now include in our little world.

Our life as we know it, changed dramatically.

Everything from getting finding a house to equipping it with an aquaguard, internet, tata sky and a telephone involved a million phone calls, a lot of frustration and anxiety, and whole lot of time and patience. Things just don’t get done quickly here. Service providers don’t believe in “service”, they operate like theyre doing you a favour. Somehow, in time, you find yourself treating them with an extra kindness even though deep down you want to shout and leave. The only place for fresh veggies is the municipal market, which was a shock to me at first. Though, I must confess I have grown to love its colorful energy. Public transport is pretty much non existent and if I didn’t have a car to myself, I don’t know how I would have gotten anything done around here. Goan food is pretty much the only thing that will taste good in any restaurant. Everything else is a gamble. Chinese food was non existent till I discovered pan asian bowl. So was continental food, until I discovered Ernestos. But we get by. And the truth is, despite these stupid everyday road humps, we love it.

We love it because while we sometimes feel we’ve traded off so many basic necessities of life, we’ve gained a peace and quiet that we sorely missed in our lives in Bangalore. The solitude has given us the space to be with each other, to read, to watch television, to blog, to learn to cook, to enjoy our work, to go on long drives, to think about life and what we want to make of it. I love how the restlessness in me has turned into a kind of calm collected energy. I love how I have had to learnt to enjoy my time. I love that I can now work for myself, on my terms and really feel satisfied about the money I earn. I love how everything here is just a short drive away. I love that in order to get good service one has to be extra nice. I love how my house help is so caring and full of concern for me and anyone who comes home. I love the look of satisfaction I see on the husbands face even when hes worked long hours for 6 days in a row. I love how every one is in a happy go lucky mood. I love the rains. I love the clean air. I love how I can wear what I want and nobody bothers me on the streets. I love the narrow but good roads. I love that almost nobody ever honks on the roads. I love that the husbands office is a short drive away. I love that he can come for lunch and still make it back to work in time. I love that I can venture out by myself after dark, and still not feel unsafe. I love how the booze is so cheap. I love the cheaper petrol. I love how I can eat a meal on a lazy day in under a hundred bucks.

Bangalore will always be my home. Yes, I'll always go back. And yes, sometimes we feel the difference. We really feel like we’ve left something behind in Bangalore. But we also realize what we’ve gained a whole lot in return. And that is what makes all the difference. Bangalore gave us choices. But Goa has given us the opportunity for so much more. Goa has made my life, life.


the husband has very eloquently put in a few words, what i have rambled on and on about. to get the gist of what im trying to say, click here.


VC said...

I love the look of satisfaction I see on the husbands face even when hes worked long hours for 6 days in a row.

You do??? Really??

hAAthi said...

lol. yes believe it or not, i do. you'd have it a lot harder if i didnt.

also, note i said look of "satisfaction". not fatigue, tiredness, dissatisfaction, frustration..

Quicksilver said...

HI, I stumbled across your blog from another page, and I loved your piece on Goa. I moved from Mumbai to Goa a couple of years back, unfortunately I had a short stint in Goa before i needed to move back for family reasons. I however, loved that period, and your entry brought all the loved memories of Goa back. Thank you.

hAAthi said...

hello quicksilver
did you, by any freak chance, work at synapse when yo were here in goa?

Karishma Sundaram said...

I stumbled across your blog, and this entry really resonated with me! The public transport system - because I can't drive; the food - because I've faced it too; and the service providers - because I waited 8 months for a broadband connection! Even the part where you moved here from a metro city.

In spite of it all, I still love Goa. :-)

hAAthi said...

hey karishma,

goa has a charm thats hard to not love. a charm that somehow makes everything else bearable. otherwise i dont know how i would have made it through 6 months.

what do you do here btw?

Karishma Sundaram said...

I am a freelance writer, so I am not really location-bound. I moved back in with my parents after they settled in Goa.

Currently, i am suffering the most horrendous cabin fever because I am cooped up indoors all day long. *sigh*

It was so great coming across your blog!

hAAthi said...

oh gosh! thats slightly uncanny. im a freelance writer too. not location-bound. and currently stuck at home thanks to the rain..

wow.. we should meet!

give me a shout at revati(dot)me(at)gmail(dot)com