My tongue is busy, moving around and sloshing it. I feel around its periphery; prodding, poking and wetting it. I licked at it, tried to lift certain parts. Almost as if it could feel my efforts, juices secreted from it’s within, bringing with it a familiar taste. Slowly some other stuff came off, giving a feeling of pleasure that was oh so satisfying. Encouraged, I doubled my efforts. But after a few minutes, it was still the same. No progress and even the wetness was gone. I gave up.
Having a fenugreek (saunf) seed stuck perfectly between your skewed wisdom teeth is a huge pain.
As I walk out after my meal, I focus on what change the past six months have given. When you move from a small town to a big city, things are supposed to change. And things did change. I was thrust into a completely new way of life, and when I decided to nest in the historically profound and thus, the posh area of the city, I met with – not a culture shock – but a ‘ah this is it’ kinda shock.
I am not a hillbilly. Though of course certain sections of people from my current nest may call me that. I prefer the term ‘desi,‘ or even a coded sitcom reference. I am, quite clearly, the ‘Indravardhan Sarabhai‘ to my (and many people’s) ‘Maya Sarabhai.’ I have talked with certain friends who are a little ‘Maya,’ and it was so far fun to point out certain nonplussing differences.
Case on point, a girl said, “Today mom is cooking methi ke parathe!“
“Girl, we are Gujjus, and they are called Theplas.”
However, nothing beats a typical English loving high profile girl trying to flaunt her vocab: “Can I have a USB battery?”
“A USB battery!”
“You mean a power bank?”
It is not like I haven’t been to cities ever. I have been to and lived in cities – tier II at best. But they were easy places and I wasn’t out of place. When I told people that I am shifting to these cities, no one felt the need to warn me, or give me tips stemming from their experiences from said cities. However, when I did announce my move to the Big City™, there were floods of people telling me to handle myself well, not get carried away, and don’t lose focus. I was warned, threatened even, to not attain any snob, and if I do, I must not bring it back home. I think it was more about not losing the touch to my roots.
And I have gladly stayed true to those, I think.
The differences were minute but great. The commute suddenly became a very public, and often compromising affair from being a leisurely private affair. And worse, complaining about it would make you sound like a wuss. People would travel for 300 minutes daily and still call themselves from the same city. I can change states via train, take a rickshaw, go to my real home and take a bath and that person could still be travelling in the same ‘city’. Or, I could take a flight to Dubai and they’d still be chugging in the public transport. And dare you insinuate that they are not locals.
Time flies. The city never stops. The sleep is just a necessity to get going the next day. I was used to the proper comfort of my own bed (बिस्तर) – cozy, confortable and mine. Here it is just a pitstop to return to and go again.
Food – while I love good food, getting the equivalent of good taste in big cities often means long travel or high costs, sometimes both. Until I rediscovered taste in small restaurants. The only comfort at the end of a day was often the food at a familiar bistro.
Lot more changes. New people. New life. New factors and a special maidan. Yet, somehow it still has accepted me but tells me not to get too comfortable. Very much like a stuck fenugreek seek in your wisdom tooth.
Like a new girlfriend who keeps you on your toes, this new city is keeping me on my heels.
Between “The city of dreams” and “The city that never sleeps;” I am trapped into a sleepless dream. I don’t know when I’ll sleep or when the dream will end.
But from बिस्तर to Bistro, I will always be grateful to my journey.