Friday, March 7, 2008

All my bags are packed...I am ready to go ....

“The city grows on you….despite all its shortcomings, restrictions and negativity, you tend to love it as the times goes by.” I was sure even at that time that the speaker meant whatever he was saying. A Marathi colleague was speaking at his farewell function .He was transferred after 5 years of stay at Kolkata .That day I thought that I will never give such ‘cliché-ed’ speech when I have to leave this city. I was very angry with Kolkata in those days. It was inhospitable, ugly and unfriendly for me and it fall far short of my expectations compared to Lucknow, Shimla , Jaipur or any other city I had lived till then.
It is almost three years now from that farewell function. This morning I got a two line order that changed the course of my day …may be for days. I have been transferred from Kolkata to New Delhi. It seems I have some strange connection with the Raj Capitals. First I came from the Summer capital-Shimla to this place and now I go back to THE Rajdhani of India . Delhi- the seat of power, the place which evokes mixed reactions in my heart and also the heartless- rule less- ruthless city which belongs to no-one .
It was not Delhi and its character that I was worried about. It was Kolkata – and more than that my life in Kolkata that I was thinking of. I have a mental list ready of things and people I will surely miss once I moved out of here . People who taught me the basics of work , people with whom I traveled every morning and evening and numerous other associations which I made here . Come to think of it, I guess I will even miss the vegetable seller with whom I regularly fight over vegetable prices. But the two places which I will cherish for rest of my life are –my first HOME and my office. It was here in Kolkata that for the first time me and hubby set up our first home . Everything from furniture, linen to kitchen appliances was bought keeping this house in mind….and I am not very sure how they will fit in any other house . It is definitely the loveliest, most wonderful, most beautiful house. And my office-well, it was not my first of course. But it was the best so far. I was a pleasure to work with this group of competent officers. As I am writing this post , so many images come to my mind. Meetings and arguments with boss, discussions with colleagues, my trips to Andamans, Bhutan, Farakka and many other places. My interactions with the subordinates, my attempts to ensure discipline, my efforts to understand the audit reports put up to me . My failures…my successes. I got so much to see and learn in this office. And however much I resist, there are images outside office also…of the city, I love to hate. A city that disappointed me with its bad busses, horrible roads and terrible services . A city of suffocating politics and unnecessary aggressiveness. But have I not already mend up my relation with Calcutta in my mind? For quite sometime now, I have accepted (though grudgingly) its slow speed, its argumentative attitude for everything and even the peculiar sense of timing.
I know I will miss my years at Kolkata and the people I met here. I try my best to look at the positive side of the transfer – it will be closer to Lucknow, transfer is a reality for all of us in civil services, the new office may be even better – but none of these consolations work…the lump in my throat and the bitter taste in my mouth, continues. Don’t be surprised if you find me saying good things about Calcutta when I leave – the city, indeed, grows on you!