Thursday, April 14, 2011

Out with the Old, In with the New

So the BIG NEWS is that I have joined an NGO! I am working in the India office of a US based public charity which does work in the area of public health. I am handling a very interesting project, and I am extremely excited about the role and the work involved.

So we got back in the first week of February from our South East Asia trip, and it was time for me to get back to a full time job. I was very keen on joining an NGO; even in my previous job, I was working in the development sector, but now I wanted to work on the field. But I’m as materialistic as they come, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to take the pay cut involved (since I was earning millions in my previous job, NOT!). After much agonising, I decided to take the plunge and by mid-Feb I had started applying for NGO jobs.

Fortunately, things moved very quickly, and within two weeks I had a job offer. And it was a role I was very keen to work on. And so I said yes. The cherry on the cake was that the salary was much better that what I had been preparing myself for. Once that was final, we went off to Rajasthan for a holiday, came back to Bangalore, and after two lovely weeks in Bangalore, moved to Hyderabad in time for Ugadi and my joining date.

And that brings us to the bad news. The office is in Hyderabad. A week ago, we packed bag and baggage, and moved to Hyderabad. The bad news isn’t that I’m moving to Hyderabad, the bad news is that I have to leave Bangalore. I’ve lived for four years in Hyderabad and it’s a city I’m very familiar with and very comfortable in. A city I have very fond memories of. It means Nike and I are both closer to our families. It means I can now spend more time with some of my closest friends. In many ways, moving to Hyderabad is a good thing – and yet, I pine for Bangalore!

Without realising it, Bangalore has become home for me now. Vizag is, and always will, be home for me first and foremost. But Bangalore was home too. And I’m going to miss the lovely weather, the billions of wonderful weekend getaways, the quirky things to do in the city, the sense of laidbackness, my friends, my familiar haunts, that indefinable spirit of the city. I will, however, NOT miss the auto-wallahs. I;m also disappointed that I have had to move out before the Metro finally started - all that traffic and headache I withstood staunchly, thinking of a future in which I zip around in the Metro - and now I don't get the fruits of my labour. Gah!

Maybe if I was moving to a city I had never lived in before, like Delhi or Bombay, the excitement of living in a new city might have overshadowed the sorrow of leaving Bangalore. But there is no excitement at moving back to a familiar old place like Hyderabad, and so there is much sorrow at leaving Bangalore. Some of my happiest years have been in Bangalore – almost all my memories and associations of the city are incredibly happy ones – and it makes it so much harder to let go of a place that has given me so much love and joy.

People talk about how Bangalore has no ‘character’ when compared to older cities like Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Madras or Hyderabad. And I have to reluctantly agree with them. Yet, there is something in that city that slowly, slowly, sneaks upon you and makes you think ‘this is home’. It’s a very comfortable city, a city that graciously lets you be, a city that lets you become a part of it without you having to make any effort whatsoever to fit in. I’m convinced that once one gets used to living in Bangalore, it is going to be very difficult to move to any other major Indian city – life will get that much tougher.

Okay, now I’ve gone and made myself all sad and misty-eyed and nostalgic about Bangalore! I’m going to end this post here before I talk myself into buying tickets to head off to Bangalore this weekend. Ciao!


Chan said...

Strong. Bangalore love hi-five! Congrats on the cool new job too!

Anonymous said...

hey I came here from ihm's blog and loved reading this post. i can so identify with you, despite not having lived either in hyd or in blr :-) Congrats on finding a job that you were looking for, and all the best :-)

Preeti said...

That's great news! :)
Many congratulations! :)
Bangalore does that to people, I guess. I have lots ofo hard core Delhites friends who have fallen head over heels in love with Bangalore. But then again, there are also many who have the hots for Hyderabad now! To each city, its own! :D

subbulakshmistoned said...

Congratulations :)
Seems like a job I'd want!

smartassbride said...

congrats Ramya! I wish for you to find what you're looking for in the new job!

ps : If I could I'll exchange Madras's character for bangalore's weather and "you can be whoever you want to be"-ness that I miss most abt. Bangalore. That city judges less, gives more, charms one to no end, I think.

Ramya said...

@Chan: Thanks! And Bangalore love high-five indeed!

@Writerzblock: Welcome to this space! I love IHM's blog. It's become one of my regular reads. She really makes one think, doesn't she?

@Preeti: Thanks :-) Its changing times for some of us, eh? Even I have Delhi friends who have now made their home in Bangalore, and intend to settle down here Like you said, to each city, its own. Ironically, I was hoping that if I had to move out of Bangalore, it would be to Delhi! I'm fascinated by your city.

@Subbu: Aww...thanks!

@SAB: That is such a sweet thing to wish for! Thank you! And you're so right about the 'you can be whoever you want to be'-ness of Bangalore. Sigh!

Parul said...

Hey Ramya,

How are you liking Hyderabad?

What makes Bangalore a gracious city? Please elaborate. I've never lived in B'lore or Hyderabad.


Ramya said...

@Parul: Hello and welcome here :-)

So I'm going to recreate a comment I had left on another blog about why I think Bangalore is such a lovely city.

I think Bangalore is one place where one feel easily at home. I don’t want to call it cosmopolitan, but its a city where you can certainly feel at home. Most people (autowallahs, taxi drivers, shopkeepers etc) understand not only English, Hindi and Kannada, but sometimes, even Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.

You can watch movies in English, Hindi, all four south Indian languages, and sometimes even Marathi, apart from foreign language films. Every cuisine is available here – South Indian, North Indian, Continental, American, Asian – you name it, you’re likely to find it (my friends even discovered an exclusive Bihari restaurant!).

You see people wearing all sorts of cothes – ethnic wear as well as western wear, and being comfortable in it. Whether you walk around in a lungi or in shorts, you’re not going to feel out of place.

I also see lots of non-Kannada festivals being celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm here – Onam, Vishu, Holi, Dussera etc. And it has interesting stuff happening all the time – festivals/habbas on various occasions, book fairs, plays, music and dance festivals (with music and dance from across the country and the world), rock concerts, art exhibitions etc.

And for those into that scene, it has very interesting pubs and clubs (though they shut way too early for my liking) and booze is freely available. Finally, its difficult to not like a city with that kind of weather.

And this is just a little bit of why Bangalore is wonderful. But like SmartAssBride above said, there's a spirit of 'you can be whoever you want to be'ness in the city that is hard to define.

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