Here I was, sitting in my allotted hotel room, flipping across all the tv channels only to see the KKR players get gold chains and a ride all across Kolkota. IPL5 was done with. CSK had lost. My mum, bro and aunt dropped me off in Bangalore and were returning back home. I closed the door behind me and through the pin-hole I possibly saw a fresh start. It was my first day in Bangalore. The first to many firsts that were about to unfold in the last one year.
The first time I was living away from home. The first time I was going to share my life with a bunch of friends. The first time I was going to receive a pay-check. The first time I was going to give my tithe. The first time I was going to wake up to an alarm. The first time I was going to wash my own clothes. Well, the first time I was going to make my own choices, be it having to gobble up momos from the roadside vendor or having to choose between going to church for the bible study or an outing with friends.
This city knows how exactly to flirt with you. It winks at you with its beautiful weather and being a Chennaiite, you blindly fall in love with it and then simply hope that this relationship with the city continues just a little longer before life decides to throw some more surprises at you. There is something about this city I haven't been able to understand. As much as it makes you fall in love with it, it also ensures you love your home town all the more. Any word against Chennai and you stare into that person's eye and say, "Aye! We have beaches!" Never knew I was this proud of the Marina before I stepped into this city. When I see two random people walking across my cubicle talking in Tamil, I shamelessly turn around to spot them. You know this language has never sounded sweeter.
This year has taught me to live life king-size. Living with a bunch of girls is fun. After living in mansions, suddenly having to accustom yourself to a match-box sized room is difficult. How is one expected to fit all her belongings into this room, let alone having to share the space with two other girls? But we soon mastered the art of it. The trick was to accept that a messy room with things dispersed all over the place was beautiful. You learn to adjust. You learn to sleep even when the lights are on. You learn to sit within your invisible boundary and have your personal space even when girls around you are having a gala time watching something on tv that least interests you. I learnt not to complain. I learnt how to sit with the other girls in a 1x2 square metre space, order some outside food and relish it, yet not complain about the lack of space in the room. Spending a lazy afternoon in a friend's room, having a little girl chat (little = roughly over 3 hours) and getting to know each other a little deeper wouldn't have been possible if not for this life. Buying mehendi cones and adorning our hands felt great. What was the occasion? Nothing. Just that an evening seemed to have two extra hours. A friend got a keyboard as her birthday present and we all became musicians overnight. A friend bought an iPad and we did't waste time in taking pics with all the possible effects the photo booth had to offer. Visiting the nearby eat-out, spending your night there, feeling at home and eating at considerably cheaper rates soon became a favorite pastime. Come weekend, google out for different restaurants and use google maps to reach those places for lunch. Trying out different food and then consoling ourselves by saying "At least we now know not to buy this." has quickly become a weekend habit.
I learnt to trust God in little things. Actually, I didn't have any other choice. I haven't seen a random insect in the dinner served to us in the PG yet, but my friends have spotted these creatures a couple of times. This has forced me to say a silent prayer before every meal to plead with God to not place any creature in my meal and even if it is there, I ask Him to make me unaware of it. I went to a new church. A church family. My church has taught me how to welcome strangers and make them feel at home. Perfectly biblical. First day in church didn't feel out of place at all. A warm hello and a wide smile from almost all of them made me feel like one among them. In this city, I met relatives I never knew existed. Made friends with them. Took part in their celebrations. One day when a new girl comes to the city, I know how to be there for her selflessly. I have learnt it from them.
Last year, this day I stepped into my very first workplace. It was magical. The investment declarations, salary split ups and the reimbursement concepts still baffle me. I remember filling my plate completely with food during lunch simply because there was so much food to choose from. Today as I walked into the campus waving my ID card to the security, I realized that it had become a habit. Not much has changed since day 1. I still struggle to work on my own. I still feel a little out of place. But by now, I have learnt to take food that is just enough to curb my hunger and prevent me from falling asleep in front of my laptop saving some embarrassment. I have learnt to force myself to hit the gym because I realized that sitting in front of the laptop all day will one day take a hit on my health. I have learnt that work is important and that I need to be sincere at it. I have also learnt that work isn't everything and taking some time off to write away your thoughts like how I am doing now is worth it. Oh, I also got to realize that fans exist for teams other than CSK as well! ;)
There are things I haven't completely got a grasp of, yet. I haven't understood why volvos are always crowded. I haven't understood why malls attract so many of us everyday. I haven't understood why all of a sudden poeple prefer only the CCD coffee. I haven't understood how people who sit with serious faces in front of their laptops could let their hair down and shake a leg during an office outbound. I haven't understood how a whole bunch of people confine themselves to this coder's paradise and yet have different passions. I haven't understood how freedom and fear can be synonymous. I just haven't understood a lot of things. Maybe I will never come to terms with a few of these things. But I will probably learn to simply accept them.
This is the city of dreams for most people. This is the life of independence most people long for. Every Sunday evening as I amble from Bible study back to my room and see a group of young guys and girls standing around the corner and smoking their life out, I wonder what this city has done to us, what money has done to us, what we have done to ourselves. It is at this very juncture that I realize that besides teaching me to celebrate life, this city has also taught me to make careful choices.
Have I mastered the art of living this life? Not a chance.
Do I feel insecure at times? Most certainly.
Could I have done anything to make myself feel better? Absolutely not.
Am I raring to go for another ride in this roller-coaster???....
Today morning, as I went to the dining hall and sat down with tea in one hand and my Bible in the other, I read of how the Israelites were moving to a new land simply because God told them to. They should have had their apprehensions. My Bible taught me today that these people camped in various places and moved only when God commanded them to which was symbolized by a pillar of cloud being lifted off from their tents. Quite an adventure. They lived knowing that God had provided enough strength to carry forward on that day. They lived with a hope that God will do the same the next day.
So, am I raring to go for another ride in this roller-coaster?
Knowing that God has given me what I need for the day, knowing that He has given me hope for my new tomorrow, I put aside all my fears and doubts and say, "Bring it on!"
"One year of living in wonder, one year of living life differently, one year of grooving to the corporate music. One year. My first year. I smile at you because you happened."