Love is a wondrous thing.
A few days ago, a post that I wrote about my first love caused mayhem on my page view statistics. Thanks is due where thanks is due. It almost reminds me of the Sensex – one moment you are happy with the averageness of an investment going well and a sudden bullish run excites you. As a keen follower you even know that it will peak and trough at whim. The run continues – breaking every tenet that you believed in. It crosses the limits you have known and imagined. What use, however, this bullish run for an investment that you don’t intend to cash-out?
Every city in this world is like that.
Just when you start believing that you know the city, it will ever so slightly present you with that one look that will mesmerise you with a psychedelic flash you have never known before.
London is a speaking city.
It has made it to the list of my only three cities in the world. It has now begin teasing me. I see its naughty smile every time it presents one of its new faces. I smile back, part sheepishly, part enjoying it. And, it doesn’t need a time and place to do that. On the platform, in the underground tunnels, on its colourful happy streets, over its many bridges over the river. Through transparent odd-shaped glass buildings. Every corner and street and shop and building has a story. Some are hushed, some are old, some are new.
I found a way to talk to London. It was a bit difficult in the initial days – I was still learning the language. I am now fluent. It is much more fun, now. December 12th, without warning, while walking towards my tube, in Victoria, I heard it loud and clear. It was the sweet voice of knowing. The friendly warmth of bear-hug. Wordless expression of affection. You’d think, if my eyes hadn’t swelled, I might have just missed it in the din of the isolating iPod tentacles in my ears. But, no, this voice doesn’t need ears, it needs a heart in love. You could ask me to do a reality check and ask if I am really talking of my love for the winter, the treacherous icy pavements, the chance to wear overcoats and wool, the microscopic icicles melting after laboured breathing. But I love London in the winter, I love it in the summer. I love it all twelve months of the year. Not even the done-to-death-grey-clouds do me in. The rain – I hate it anywhere.
I felt no pang when I left Mumbai one January morning two years ago. I know now – I will not feel it when I leave London.
This is my City.
When you know that a city belongs to you, staying or leaving is irrelevant.
You carry the city in your heart. Some of you who have read my post about Mumbai, may be amused to think that I have an exceptionally massive heart to carry two cities (amongst other things) in it. In an inexplicable way, it is the other way round.
Yet, I carry the city in my heart. It lives in my soul.
PS: Some people who know me and my life more than some of you, may be tempted to derive and construct an apparently obvious meaning of this post. Don’t. PPS: Part 1 happened here.