Don’t think I haven’t been watching you. You feel uprooted and lonely, and the beauty of another country has taken a stray weekend of your time, but obviously done nothing else to steal your love. Every time you hear a strange accent, you feel a pang. You want to be greeted with “what’s up bob” and you want to drive without thinking about who has “the right of way” for once. The weak one gets no right of way- it’s as simple as that. You want to look at a menu and actually have more than one vegetarian option to choose from. Oh, and you want to be sure you’ll like what the waiter brings you. What is “butterfruit” anyway? And why doesn’t it have chutney on the side?
You always knew you would be miserable without me, didn’t you? I gave you the very best of everything – the cool breeze, friends who could talk about classic rock for hours on end while ending sentences with “macha,” and the musty heaven we call Blossoms. I thought I would drive you away as you grew up (to be fair, you’ve had more than one unsavory experience here), but apparently I’m worth a lot more than the occasional run-in with auto drivers. And when I see you now, I’m flattered beyond words. Even in all the beauty and comfort other cities have so generously given you, you stand shivering in your jacket and craving my touch. Every time I make an appearance in your dreams, you wake up wondering why you’re anywhere but with me.
But it’s time for me to tell you this. I may have given you all I possibly could, but you deserve so much more. You’re too young to decide you want to grow old in my arms and you may be too madly in love to see this now, but you’ve already grown in my absence. You’re a lot tougher than you’re willing to admit. You’ve opened up in ways I never would’ve allowed you to – what is this I hear of a paid job? Most importantly, you’ve learnt that life without me isn’t just one never-ending nightmare.
I don’t want things to end here. I don’t want you running back to me because you couldn’t find love anywhere else. I want you to smile as often as you did with me. I want you to live without my constant assurance that I’ll never leave you. Because it’s true, I will never leave you. Every tear you shed in my memory will make me feel guilty for having made you so fiercely dependent. And for every time you pick up your paycheque and gather the ingredients for the perfect dosa-coffee combination that will stun your friends, I’ll be proud to have planted the first seed of love in you. So remember that, dear Bangalorean, and live the dream until you’re ready to come back into my arms- which will always be outstretched for you.
Note: This post was a response to a beautiful letter to the city that gave us so much to love.