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Dhanbad to Delhi: From Trying To ‘Fit In’ To Realising It Doesn’t Matter

Two years ago, I came to Delhi, leaving Dhanbad behind – a place which you might or might not have come across in your geography textbooks.

Dhanbad is a place where the majority of the population hasn’t been exposed to the modern day amenities and luxuries at all. A city with no traffic lights, few shopping malls and fewer eateries. It’s also a town that houses umpteen dreams. While covering a distance of 1,240 kilometres, I realised that I was not only leaving my family and friends behind but also a part of me. I remember how sceptical people were when I told them that I would be going to Delhi for graduation. They feared that I might not be able to adapt to the culture and the lifestyle of the capital.

For the past two years, I have been experiencing the bitter taste of inferiority in unexpected ways, and on a regular basis. The discrimination that I’m referring to is probably the most unheard of. Believe it or not, people are unwilling to discuss it.

I realized that I was unaware of a lot of things that people around me would casually bring up during conversations. I wasn’t exposed to the same popular culture as my friends from big cities were. My friends would discuss how funny Chandler was, or how good “Breaking Bad” was, and I would corner myself out of the conversation.

On several occasions, I was judged for the songs I had heard or for the ones I didn’t know. Most notably, I was mocked for the way I spoke Hindi. My struggle could be best traced from “Hum Dhanbad se hai” to “Main Dhanbad se hu” which took me almost a year. On discussing this obscure lifestyle with people back in my hometown, all I was ever advised was to never change myself. I think I have tried my best to keep my friends’ and family’s request.

I have never seen it as a weakness, to be honest. As a person, I have always been open to learning and adopting certain mannerisms from the urban culture. I believe in broadening my knowledge spectrum. But there are moments when the constant leg-pulling gets to your nerves. Two years in Delhi has changed me in a lot of ways, both positively and negatively. I have grown as a person, and I believe that I have been learning and unlearning something or the other every day.

The discrimination that I have been talking about is something a lot of my friends from Dhanbad and other small cities who have migrated to bigger cities have been facing. All of us have different coping mechanisms, and with time I believe we have all learned to adapt ourselves to the changing culture.

In my journey from Dhanbad to Delhi, I have had the chance of meeting some amazing people who have made my days happier and helped me survive this city with a smile even during harshest of times. Thank you for being there, having my back and accepting me for the way I am.

I can’t fit in someone else’s shoes. I tried a lot to ‘fit in’ – but now, not only do I not want to ‘fit in’ anymore, I also know it doesn’t matter.

You must be to comment.
  1. Tathagata Sar

    Wonderful write up and expression. Awaiting for more.

  2. RITESH SINGH CHOUDHARY

    Like most of the YKA articles…it was another diary entry.
    People who mocks other (knowingly that it hurts them) for their culture or language are cunts.

    Hey, I moved to Delhi last month and I am from dhanbad as well.
    Surprisingly,
    I feel I had to made more effort to fit in my grad college in Ranchi than here. May be because Now I am more sorted out and hardly feel the need to fit in. As I would have felt the need in my grad yrs.
    And it is also about the maturity (/age) of people around you. All of them had came straight from schools. Don’t worry they will grow up.
    Chandler, Breaking Bad, GOT,….it can go on, How long one
    ‘ld follow them.
    So, I second your opinion in not trying hard to fit in.
    Btw.. I found students from U.p and Bihar almost everywhere here. And so far..(based on my looks) many South Indian people have come to me asking if I am from Andhra. ?

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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