When I was politely kicked out of my clerical job I had opted for while still trying to survive engineering, just like any other Indian teenager, I was waiting for overwhelming sadness, but that did not come. All I saw was new endless possibilities, finally stepping out of my house and being a free bird.
It was one of those fantasies every person has in their late teens – being independent. I informed my dad I am leaving for Bangalore to search for a job. He offered to help me settle down in Bangalore and make sure I was happy and safe, which I accepted graciously. Mom was confused on whether to be sad that I would be going away or be happy that I am finally ‘growing up’, while little sister was excited about having our shared room all to herself.
Arriving in Bangalore, I was not sure if I was feeling cold because of weather of January in a cool city like Bangalore, or because of the nervous excitement that this city is going to be my new home, where I can find myself. I reached my place, attended the interview and then bid adieu to my dad.
I was supposed to be scared, but I was surprised that I was elated, sad and lonely, all at the same time. I decided I will just start searching for more interviews and an hour later, it started raining outside. That was the scariest thunderstorm ever.
One particular thunder was so loud, I almost knew something had gone wrong. The power was disconnected and my room was pitch black. I had no candles. I went out with an umbrella to see what’s wrong and saw many people had come out from their houses. A very old huge tree had fallen and cut the electricity cables before landing. All stores were shut and there was no way I could get any food or candles. I felt the loneliest and a bit lost.
I decided to knock on my neighbor’s door to borrow some candles. A sweet lady in her 50s answered. I explained my situation and then asked for some candles. She observed my drenched state and asked me to get in.
I was given a towel, a bowl of hot porridge, and a thick blanket. Her two daughters were also having the porridge and I immediately remembered me and my sister being taken care of just the same way. I thanked the lady and left, promising myself to bring her a pack of candles the next day. Before I could start missing my mom and sister in my dark room, it was hail storming. I had never seen hailstorm in my life.
I was weirdly excited. I slouched in a chair facing my open door with a thick blanket and realized: If I were with my parents now, I would not know the hailstorm in me that I needed to go through. I did not know how I would overcome such a situation. I would still be with my mom, happy and safe, but then how would I learn how to manage myself?
I had no idea how strong I was, until I went through the dread of being alone in a tiny dark apartment with no candles, huge ice pieces falling on my roof making so much noise that I could not hear my mom on the phone, cooking in the light of a candle, living without electricity and phone for the next 3 days.
Now, 6 years later, I am a native of Bangalore. I have become very generous, calm, patient, and compassionate, thanks to that lady who made me feel at home.
So, what is your story? Would you love the experiences a new city gives you? And the challenges being new in a place bring for you? Or would you rather live in your native town and bask in the comfort and belonging that the place offers you?
Do share your thoughts!