Leaving home to go to college is a yearly phenomenon for many youngsters in the country. While it may seem daunting to leave the comforts of your own city, your friends and your family, it is also an experience that I am very thankful for. There is a thing about new places; it gives you an opportunity to be a new person – to try new things, and to have new experiences that you’ve never had before.
Leaving Hyderabad and coming to Delhi to study was not smooth or easy. To dismantle an existing support system and reconstruct it in a new place with new people was an additional task to the unpredictable future that lay ahead. This event is probably the most remarkable, even though you will encounter it multiple times again in your life because of the novelty that it offers the first time. While my parents agreed to send me off to the most crime-ridden city in the country, there were uncles whose maximum interaction were an unfortunate elevator ride together, would ask them to reconsider their decision.
Away from these uncles, Delhi, for me, became a city that accepts you and lets you grow within its pollution hotboxed bosom. It was here where I felt I knew things, where I could manoeuvre through the city, through situations, and live a life without having to conform to anybody around me. As harsh as it could be, Delhi left me stranded, but with resources which I had to learn how to use- with experiences that taught me so much about myself and the people around me.
This very feeling would then be taken away each time I came home for vacation. Hyderabad then became the city that saw me as a child, which could chide me and put me in place. I started to identify the space as that which would never leave behind the mistakes I had done. This, until today, has a strange stronghold over me.
What accompanied with the infantilization was the feeling of alienation from your own city. The city and its people have moved ahead the whole time while I was elsewhere, unaware of the changes it was going through. And every time I had to catch up to it when I came back. I was unknowingly expecting it to be on hold- to wait for me till I came back. This expectation was not mine alone, it was the city’s and the home’s as well.
The responsibility of surviving in a faraway land becomes yours alone. There is no one breathing down your back, smacking you to be in line. These conditions could make or break a person. With the help of a few individuals, it made me. And I have all the gratitude in the world for them.
Having moved back to Hyderabad for good, there are immense comforts that come with immense stress of remaining the changed person you have become. It is going to be a test of the resilience of your person against the tide of “you’ve changed”.