Now I get it!! Now I know what all this excitement is about. Believe it or not, this is my first time living in a big city! I am quite surprised, considering the amount of travelling I have done all my life. I went to 7 schools between kindergarten and grade 12, and have seen almost every corner of India. I have visited quite a few cities (Madras, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Sydney, Vancouver, New York, Bombay). But, in all that travelling, I have never really lived in a big city. As in really LIVED lived. In fact, I have never really wanted to live in a big city. You see, I was never really a city person. I have always been a very ‘quiet place surrounded by mountains and lakes and forests and rivers and going to bed with the sound of crickets and waking up to the sound of birds chirping’ kind of person.
Except when I lived in Madras as a third grader and I hated it but now that I think about it, it must have mainly been because I was missing my dad (he was away at Antarctica for 16 months). And I had to travel a long long way on a crowded public bus to get to my crappy school and when I finally moved to a good school, it was time for us to leave. I didn’t make any friends at either of my schools. All the neighbour’s kids were older than me and they somehow thought it was their duty to make sure I was bullied enough to last me a lifetime. I mean, what if I wasn’t blessed enough to have more bullies in my life, right? They were just being kind. Just making sure that I didn’t grow up with a great big ‘bully-void’ in my life. As you see, Madras didn’t have much going for it then, at least from my point of view.
I was also at Sydney for a couple of months and I totally loved it but we were in the suburbs. We didn’t quite live IN the city really. And even before I started settling down, we moved to Canberra (another quiet little town…my kind of town). But ShangHai! Now, this is different and that’s probably one of the reasons why I so love it here. Everything is a new experience for me. And I am like a kid on her first day out. There’s just so much to take in and I feel like I won’t be done by the time it’s time for us to leave. But what I am even more scared of is that I wouldn’t have seen everything there is to see and experience everything there is to experience when it comes to city-life and by the time we leave here I might have reached my saturation point and wouldn’t want to live in another city for a very long time to come. So, my experiences would be incomplete, my perspective skewed and I still won’t know what it is like to really live in a city. I might just end up being biased against big cities (as if I already wasn’t biased enough). I am worried that when all this initial excitement dies down and the realities of city-life hits me, like the air pollution and Mini-me’s allergies and asthma and the fact that she will have to travel an hour (to and fro) everyday to school, I will start losing it. I know! I know! I think too much and as a result I worry too much. And as a result, cities don’t seem like the right place for me. Too stressful!
Like I said, I was never really a city person. But we’ll see. I might just turn out to be this amazing human being who can adapt to any kind of environment without much trouble at all. Or at least that’s what I hope for ;). From the sound of it (‘it’ being the non-stop jabbering that goes on in my head), it looks like the voice in the head has serious issues with letting me take life as it comes, one moment at a time. At the slightest hint of trouble, the voice freaks out and as a direct result, I start freaking out. But then remember? The button? It’s time to use it. The ‘zip-it-and-throw-the-keys-away’ button? I am done worrying. I am going to take this one step at a time. And in the land of Zen and Tai Chi, I am sure I will get by just fine…