At the outset, let me say, yes I am terrified of snakes, spiders, and creepy crawlies. Being a city girl even the advertisement featuring a snake makes me change channels. Being a parent I have, at the least, developed the courage to hit at a cockroach or a lizard. A city girl is used to living in apartments the size of a small cafe, having home-delivered groceries and having a windowsill with only two or three plants. Her idea of a garden would be a public park and not her back or front yard. The day the city gets quiet due to a curfew or the death of a prominent leader it’s like zombie-land. Somehow the air is cleaner on those days.
While growing up I was blessed with a house in a lane that overlooked a busy section of town. That meant that even on lazy Sundays I could stare out of a window and watch the traffic go by – Never a dull moment. The hustle bustle of the city below and the millions of thoughts in my head kept me busy. For all carnival celebrations in my city, we got front row seats from our veranda. I also lived next to a waterfront. The days I needed to feel the sea breeze, all I had to do was put on my sweats and head down to the nearest pier.
A city girl generally is not very trusting, in love, in friendships or in money. It’s not that she has been betrayed or faced hardships, but the city has its stories and its secrets. To be cautious is the general consensus. So, we may not trust you with your first hello or be taken in with your sweet talk but once we test the depth of the person we could be friends, or foes for life. People from small towns and villages come to big cities to make ends meet. The city life lures them into staying and making the big city their permanent home. Just like a magician invites one to explore his world behind the curtain. Therefore we have a mixed blend of cultures in our city. All religions are celebrated with much fanfare. The city makes you more tolerant, more accepting.
Another characteristic of a city life would be the mall culture. That is one thing that I can do without. However being a parent, the city does not give you many options for entertainment or spending quality time with your child without going to malls during weekends or during holidays. The parks are not maintained and the beaches are overcrowded. The only controlled environment is that of a mall. As a teenager I was witness to the first mall that the city built. Walking around that mall with my fiance at that time, we wanted to buy all the pretty things but didn’t have the means to. Now we have the means to buy the same but have matured enough to understand that all shiny things are not what they seem.
In the building opposite to mine, I see a family having dinner at a table, without the television on. All of them are together, and I hope that someday I would also inculcate the same values to my child. Knowing how the day went for my family should be more important than what is happening on a reality show or what is cooking in Master Chef’s kitchen. Because in this city, we lose our perspective, we run after money, fame and success when we should realize is that the best things in life are free. A hug to your little one or assurance given to a loved one that -all will be ok should be more significant.
October 4, 2013.