“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, I told him, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.” – Azar Nafisi
Leaving Bangalore was never easy. Leaving the dream city, my friends, my family, my workplace, my colleagues and shifting to Coimbatore was both mentally and physically taxing. IT-city Bangalore had made us too much of a techie and life had gone awfully virtual. Movie tickets-Book my show, Cab booking-Ola, Food delivery- Zomato, Monthly ration- Big Basket, Vegetables-ZopNow, Clothes and accessories- Amazon, yes; we were online personified. Henceforth, we couldn’t even come down to Coimbatore and zeroed down on a flat on MagicBricks that looked somewhat like a cosy little paradise; or may be our dream house to be precise.
Finally, Bangalore was left behind. We made good fun of our Bangalore-Coimbatore flight which was actually a 20-mintues roller coaster fly that they tried hard to validate as an extended 2-hours journey; of course to value our money. However, it reminded me of my 1st year engineering students desperate to look serious behind those beard and mustache. Anyways, even before we could blink our eyes, Coimbatore airport welcomed us. It was 9 am and soon we were on our way to our new rented place in our cab.
We passed through the city. I did not feel like missing Bangalore as far as the weather was concerned. The city reminded me of Bhubaneswar though a bit unkempt and unplanned. Our cab went through the Avinashi Road and RS Puram area, the two most happening places of Coimbatore.
I loved the sights of malls, branded stores, excellent roads with less or say almost no traffic and the beautiful coconut trees, owing to the city’s proximity to Kerala.
However, my euphoria waned gradually as we left the city behind and entered Vadavalli. Little did I know that Vadavalli, the suburb where we had our rented flat would be so far from the city? The journey was never-ending.
After passing through almost all kinds of places on earth, slums, fields, bushes, and jungles, finally we reached at our Gujan Hillcrest Apartment. After staying in an apartment on the NH in Marathahalli, surrounded by all the popular food joints, multiplexes, famous company outlets of Bangalore, Gujan Hillcrest seemed as a nightmare. I pinched myself to ensure I was not dreaming. How much I wished I were still in that plane, dreaming!!! By that time I had no interest in the interior of the house. My excitement was almost gone and I had started to regret my decision to go online while opting for a rented place.
Once the Movers and Packers team unpacked our stuffs, the next thing in my mind was food. We looked for few options to order it online, but alas; it was Coimbatore. Here ordering food (read anything) online seemed almost unfeasible. It was already 2 pm and we were out to find a place where we can gulp down whatever we may hit upon. But Ohh God!!…forget about food, we couldn’t even hit upon a human being who could understand English nor Hindi (nor Kannada). I was under the impression that my little knowledge of Kannada would sail me through Tamil Nadu as 90% Kannadigas speak Tamil in Bangalore. But I had forgotten that’s this is the land of Tamil tigers. Others learn Tamil but it’s never the other way around.
All the food joints were closed by this time. Luckily, we found a small hotel where lunch was available and we ordered for two south Indian meals. I was in no mood to appreciate the beauty of the green banana leaf and the aroma of the hot delicious Tamil meal. Somehow, I was just enchanted by the Jasmine-decorated, dark,thick beautiful braid of the waitress when my husband discovered a long hair in his rice that made me feel worse about the whole thing. We paid the bill and looked out for an ATM where we could draw some money. We did not have any vehicle as we never required one in Bangalore. But again I must remind, it was Coimbatore and not having a vehicle was a punishment here, a cruel, harsh, stern and severe punishment!!! Yes, we couldn’t get any auto, no Ola, no taxi. It was 3 pm and we had to walk for 2.5 Kms to find an ATM and it was the limit.
While coming back, we managed to get an auto but both of us were silent. May be we were thinking on the same line because the moment we entered the house, both of us voiced our plan almost together to change the flat. We went through few ads on MagicBricks and decided to visit the houses the next day. No conveyance, no market place, no shops, no hotels, no ATM, no laundry, no hospital nearby,,, how were we supposed to survive there???? We were cheated. We had fallen in a trap. The beautiful snap of the apartment was just an illusion. If only the owner had sent the snaps of the surroundings and not of the interior!!! We were worn-out, we were exhausted, we were distressed, we were disappointed, and we were upset; with Coimbatore. The beginning was a big big let down.
The next morning, I woke up early. I made a cup of coffee. I threw myself on the couch and switched on the TV. Then suddenly I remembered I haven’t been to the apartment terrace yet. Anyways, we were shifting. So, most of the things I did not unpack. I just thought of exploring the building before we move out. Our flat was on the top floor and the stairs was just adjacent to our main entrance. I held my coffee and took the stairs. The gate to the terrace was closed. I unlatched the door and entered the open terrace. And what did I see??!! My heart skipped a few beats. I ran down, threw the mug, and dragged my sleeping husband to the terrace. He was confused and taken aback. I showed him the view. He was mesmerized.
The breathtaking sight of the striking clouds covering the Western Ghats was a rare treat for our eyes. We couldn’t take our eyes off. The Bangalorian techie-mask was slipping off our faces and the ethereal beauty of Coimbatore was all set to sweep us off our feet. May be these are the moments when time stands still, when you listen to heart, give a rest to your logic and hear the silence of your soul. May be these are the moments when we are ready to quit, ready to give up and right there the miracle happens. “I think we are not moving from here,” I said looking at the view. “Of course not,” he replied looking at the silver-clad mountains. There I felt, sometimes you do not choose a place; it’s a place that chooses you. I realized I had not chosen Life, Life had chosen me; I did not choose Coimbatore, Coimbatore had chosen me.