Around this time tomorrow, I’ll probably be getting my last glimpses of Delhi for another year or more. I did not get to meet everyone from school. I missed catching up high school crushes and college buddies. I have not had the pleasure of driving through the South Delhi area on a monsoon Saturday evening. My last purchase from Midland was Slaughterhouse 5. Could my departure BE any more premature?
I did get to meet the junior junta from R-land a few days back. It was a whirlwind trip, 42 minutes of work (so I guess), and mostly lazing around, hoping somebody would come to see me just because they missed me. Five hours of general bakar later, I left, feeling a little empty. This wasn’t my home anymore. It was a nice place, with lots of friends etc., but once you know that the tiny room where I could shut out the world, fall into song, hide my worst fears, was no longer the fortress of solitude it had been three months ago, the insecurity is just too much to brush away. If I expected a part of me to be left behind in R-land, someone must have evicted it from that room for sure.
I did get a Doggy treat later, the Poetic Creep cribbing about most things as he usually does, and then stumbling onto DJ and Hari, more than a year since I saw them. So I guess my college life still does follow me around. And then there was much catching up to do with a decade and a half old friends, going through the travails of undergraduate life, sharing the common from different places. The thin sheet of ice that was found was thawed by reminiscence of old and new, with elements of surprise and pleasure only adding to the warmth of the old times.
As a child, it was never my home in Delhi that fascinated me. It was always the far-flung south. Somehow, the green and the grey seemed in perfect harmony there. It stood for all that I aspired- success, money, the luxury of good education and good society, so many things I cannot put into words. Geekiness only accentuated the affinity I felt for the region. Or maybe it was just old connections. Either way, when I thought of home, the fleeting glimpse of a small flat near a huge tower would be followed by wide, tree lined roads with bookstores, geekshops and eateries.
I am still not sure what I expect to find in Delhi. It is another safe place. I won’t ever feel unwelcome here. I don’t have to fit in. I don’t have to choke my imagination. It must be because I lived here as a kid, and the very allure of the place is that of any new place to a child. And, like a child, I find delight in the city in which I grew up, safety in the city that gave me a shelter, and peace in the city I grew to love.