The urban monkey seldom understands the simplicity of a small town.
I do not know what drove me to scribble this in my notebook as a bunch of journalism students chattered around me.
Past three days were full of intense arguments, silent moments, junctions of introspection, and plenty of annoyance. And in these three days I realised I am a creature who constantly craves comfort.
I am your average person, born and brought up in a normal middle-class family. In spite of that, I have always been acquainted with comfort. The bridge between the need and want was always very small, easily crossed. However, I always gave myself credit for not being “spoilt”, or rather tough enough to handle “uncomfortable” situations. But my whiny self, the one desperate for an air conditioner slapped me out of my delusion.
This realisation started when all my energies dropped drastically on seeing a Non-Ac bus rather than a Volvo. You know that excitement when you buy a much awaited new flavour of ice cream? And the disappointment that follows as it drops on the floor immediately after? I was that thwarted. And such is the power of validation, that despite holding my stance of an adjustable person, my co-traveller’s resentment gave me the courage to express mine as well.
The rest of the journey was as you might expect, occasionally abusing the bus driver, the weather, the organisers, the city, and myself. Not to forget, the innumerable spikes of irritation thanks to dirty Indian style loo, cold samosas, and hovering insects; the kind who found solace in the nest of my unruly hair. The only moments of peace were when I gave myself the liberty to let Patakha Guddi play in my head and feel like Alia Bhatt from Highway.
Pfft…all of you have done something like this at least once, I am sure.
Anyway, after a seven hour journey that was meant to last for two hours, you really cannot expect a person to be grateful or sane. Or so I told myself as we arrived in Patan. The first thing we laughed about? No street lights. Another? So many flyovers, yet no streetlights.
I had been to Patan so many times before, so I knew it had drastically grown into a small town trying to keep its innocence intact yet get into the range of big leagues. But my discomposure, umbrage, and urban company blinded me towards all of it.
I feel a little guilty like I succumbed into the mohs and mayas of a first tier city life.
And after two bittersweet days, as I left Patan for Ahmedabad there burnt a pang of regret in the pit of my stomach. Since I was six years old, this city that had been nothing but kind to me. But that evening, it felt like it could feel the betrayal. As if it had heard my churlish comments about its streets and shops. Imagine a childhood friend of yours mocking you for all that they adored about you? My friend, my friend was strong, but a little hurt.
It might be foolish to personify a city I do not belong to, a city I visit just in vacations and that too rarely. Might as well be, but this city has served me with the tastiest of food and memories, that Ahmedabad has never even spoken about.
In the name of a nightlife, a small shop serving Chinese food with an array of incorrect spellings fed me the most memorable dinners I have ever had. This city would not bat an eye if I ask for help a million times. And if nothing I said makes sense, it made the woman I truly respect the way she is today. Selfless, caring and ever smiling.
I might have been a brat and not seen past the failure of the government on the roads, but next time I will know better. I might still crave for the air conditioned luxuries but will give this city the respect it deserves.
Until next time, Patan.
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