With life moving towards the urban areas, we are forced to acclimatise quickly to bigger cities.
Career, education and the search for 'something new' is forcing people away from their homes and into the unknown fast moving world. The words of Viru Sahastrabuddhe (or VIRUS) from the popular movie “3 Idiots”, echo in our minds as we realise that life truly has become a race.
People are relocating, not just in search of jobs, even students are moving out of their towns to gain better exposure and/or higher quality education. Once people do move out of their comfort zones, no matter at what stage, they find their new environment to be totally alien. A new place can be intimidating, overwhelming and shocking, so let’s take a look at a few such variations that hit us hard when we shift to a much larger city.
The pace that our surroundings pick up the instant we unload at our destination is mind-numbing. Everybody and everything seems to be moving at a frantic swirl, much like the cream and chocolate in the McSwirl of McDonald's twists around. No kind exchanges with fellow strangers, no empty smiling nods; Raavan could have walked out and still be as inconspicuous as a bird, no matter how many heads he displayed. Everybody has an objective and moves like a machine programmed towards a task; the mechanistic activity fazes the newcomer.
Back home, when we step out, there is maybe a group of 10 uncles exhaling tobacco-laded smoke or spit (a norm today, differing only in the mode of intake), perhaps a small group of little kids running around or riding their mini scooters, and perhaps also an older group of kids at a bout of gully cricket. Count them all and you have perhaps 30-40 people to take in at first sight. In a city, outside your doorstep awaits a population, a crowd perhaps the size of your whole mohalla. With so many living things around, you ardently wish they establish a colony on Mars soon.
You can’t walk or ride or drive a few metres without being brought to a halt by an unmovable mass of something that isn’t moving in front of you; could be people, could be a vehicle, could be a procession, who knows? Unfortunately, speed has lost its place and you don’t have a Dhoom 3-like bike that Amir Khan flew over the cops. Get used to hours of stagnation. We reminisce how 40 km meant an hour back home; in cities, that has probably gone up to two-and-a-half hours. And here my friends, time doesn’t fly!
At our domicile, we were used to having the leg space of a giraffe and the room of an elephant. That becomes a wistful luxury as we have to pool in with don’t know how many others to afford a roof overhead. Jobs don’t exactly pay in kilos of gold and the rooms could cost a few, if sought in the right (or wrong?) place.
Remember how, as kids, most of us loved travelling in trains? Being from smaller towns, we never needed an alternative mode of transport as a bus or car would be enough to get across a diameter of 20 kms; that is how big our hometown may have been. With roads coagulated with bustling motion in crowded metropolises, the tracks, our old friends, come to our rescue. The road means hours lost in travel alone. The metro and local trains provide a better travel option and kids wouldn’t complain; not at first at least.
Nights usually meant around 8 when mom would impose a household curfew on us. Which is actually when the fun and buzz starts in the city. With day jobs out of the picture, people finally let loose and head to relax. If it’s your first time in a metropolitan city, the contrast to your hometown can be mind-boggling. The roads are crowded, alleys are full, restaurants and cafes thrive; seems like an awakening and you wonder what the lunch lady may have mixed in your food that day. Nights being so alive confirms one thing - that Batman was surely from a city!
Well, moving to a big city isn’t all bad, just an experience that teaches you how busy the world is getting. If anyone has any ideas on how to unclench from the hassles and ados of a constant hustle, do let us know in the comments.