Back in 2009, I was applying for various entrance examinations. When asked for a preference for a place of posting, I remember selecting metros like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. My father always asked- why not our city? And although I don’t remember giving him any reply, deep inside I knew the answer was- I want to live a fast life Dad. This city is slow.
I left Dehradun in 2005 for my college in Meerut. In 2011, as luck would have it, my employer gave me Delhi Circle as a posting. That means I will hardly get to see my hometown but I will be near enough to regret the stupid decision taken while filling the form. And the posting was not exactly in Delhi but in small cities. The Dehradun kind of slow, small Tier-III cities which I wanted to run away from.
In 2021, as I completed 10 years in the bank; there is a burning desire to go back to the roots. To live a slow life in a slow city.
In 10 years, I have lived 5 years in Mumbai and almost 5 years in Delhi NCR in three instalments. And at the cost of sounding like the proverbial frog in a well, I am sure I have seen enough of the fast life.
Every time I go back, I feel there is lot of time on my hands. Something which I have found myself short of living in great Indian metro cities. Agreed that when I go there, I am on leave and do not have any work-related commitments but there is this feeling of doing so much more.
In my last 15-20 visits, I have always ensured to drive through the old Mussoorie road around sunset time to see the roads I have been seeing since when I was 5. I have parked myself at Maggi Point to have a bird’s eye view of the city. There is a new restaurant on every visit at breath taking spots. Roads and air look better and cleaner. Traffic, no doubt, is increasing but who am I to complain?
I was in Dehradun a week ago and I don’t remember missing it as it happened this time. On every nook and corner, you can take out your smartphone and click photos and selfies that will make you look a complete pro and amplify your Instagram profile. Did I say that I am slightly jealous of my friends who chose to stay back while I was “metro” hopping?
I don’t know if that day will come when I will be back there for ever. But I have this hope I will go back. I am still hopeful about spending weekends with friends and family in an old shack which is serving piping hot Maggi overlooking the cedar and pine tree covered hills. Or maybe some cold beer on a chilly December afternoon. Or maybe just another drive on some new road winding down the hills.
I choose to believe that there is still time left to do all this. And not when I will turn 60 and beyond. Maybe, while I am good enough to live on my own rather than being a burden on others.
Very near but little far from where I want to be.