We moved to Hyderabad in1993, and since then 13 years have passed and I have become a strange creature who fits nowhere, neither in the suburbs of west Bengal where my roots are, nor in the pockets of telegu land in the more or less cosmopolitan hyderabadi world of mine. I cannot speak the native tongue of this place but have nonetheless lived a life filled with inter-personal communication. Sometimes it’s a lot of hand waving and pointing, but communication nonetheless.
I am not comfortable with nosy neighbours, or ‘get-togethers’, and have lead a lonely but wonderfully unsocial life and have loved every minute of it. My mother complains sometimes, but my sister and I love retire into the shell of anonymity and non-comprehension.
But all that changes once we go to khardah, my native suburbia. My sister and I are suddenly plunged into the cold dark waters of familiarity, loud outbursts and the common knowledge of shared roots. And then it sinks into me, this is alienation isn’t it?
And it’s very difficult for us to stand it even for more than a few days. The constant “you were this high since we last saw you”…etc. but then as they say ‘blood is thicker than water”, and the yearly Calcutta trip leaves me loving my community and hating it at the same time, and makes me want to go back every winter.