Places have peculiar associations for most of us. A place becomes live-able, tolerable, loveable, adorable - all courtesy the company, incidents and various other factors. I connect places with people, events and memories. Else, just like a name, a place is nothing but a place.
- Calcutta – Yes, that is how I still like to call the city and will always remain so. I was born here, it means family and friends to me, and hence have a special connection with it. Though I have never really lived here, I just adore the aura of the city. The beautiful blend of old world charm and new age thoughts makes the city stand apart. I owe all fun filled vacations and three glorious years of forging lifelong friends and coming of age to this city. This is to me truly 'the city of joy' and every time I land up here, it lights up my soul. Some of my favourite places in the city are – Nandan, Victoria Memorial, College Street, Shyambazar, Rabindra Sadan, Park Street, Esplanade and the numerous affordable, delectable eating joints. What I dislike, is the new mall culture - they are shadowing the charm and also the laidback work attitude - which does not paint a good picture in eyes of rest of the world. Everything else I love – the talkative & happy people, the finger licking food, the culture, the austerity and so many, many, many more things. Calcutta, you mean home to me and will always be so!
- Delhi – I love you! And that’s a confession. After almost half a decade of dillagi with Dilli that is what I feel. From a point where I arrived in the city with a bagful of prejudices and weird notions to a point now where I shudder at the thought of shifting base, our love story has come a long way. Yes, it was not love at first sight but a slow and gradual one. Thank you for all the great lessons, good times and awesome people. Five years back when I came here, I was fascinated by the look of India Gate and the AIIMS flyover. Nothing much has changed now, I am still amazed at the beautiful juxtaposition of the city with history and how people living here have scant regard for the same. I love the infrastructure, the right pace of life (neither as fast as Mumbai nor as slow as Kolkata), the wide roads, the greenery (at least in South & Central Delhi), and the historical monuments around the city. Some of my favourite places – Raja Agrasen Ki Baawdi, Humayun’s Tomb, Chandni Chowk, Hauz Khas Village, Dilli Haat, CP, JNU, IHC...alas! The list is endless.
- Ok this place may not even feature in the map of India but means a lot to me. I grew up in this small quaint steel township called Ghatotand aka West Bokaro in Jharkhand. I have fond memories of the place and even the mention of this place transports me to a different world. There is nothing in this place worth mentioning about other than the people and my school. Every other person knew everyone else and all communities lived happily together. It was a large scale mohalla and I loved growing up in that protective, cozy and nosy environment.
- Delhi has given me the opportunity to explore the hillsides. My favourite place among hills is this small town called Mukteshwar (50 km above Nainital). I had a serene experience just lazing around on the Chaulli ki Jaali, this is where rocks jut out from the hill face at a bizarre angle. What a spectacular view! I could just sit here and day dream for hours.
- Goa and Gokarna - both have to feature in this list. Among all the beaches that I have been to till date, these two are special. Goa was my first office offsite and though I did not travel much outside the Taj Fort Aguada resort but I loved whatever little I saw of the place. Gokarna was a recent trip and I loved the less populated, clean beaches. One of my most memorable moments of life would be swimming in the Arabian Sea upside down. The pleasure of watching the clear blue sky while floating in the sea cannot be described in words.
- Ok the last and most special place is somewhere I have never been in reality but have visited often while day-dreaming. The place is Capri in Italy and there is a slightly long-ish short story by W Somerset Maugham called ‘The Lotus Eater’ that has etched the beauty of this place so impeccably in my mind that I do not need to Google the images for a view. I fell in love with this place while reading this story and the affair continues. Do read it, if you are remotely interested in knowing about this place. Hope I get to visit Capri sometime soon else there may not be any salvation for my soul J