• Puja Shah

Who’s Your City

Photo by Sabbaar Khan from Pexels

Pune is a city with many titles, the most popular being: “Oxford of the East” because it has a higher number of colleges and Universities than any other city in India, “Detroit of India” because it has the maximum number of automobile industries in the country and since Pune was the heart of the Maratha empire, today it is also known as the “Cultural Capital of Maharashtra” for being able to preserve the age-old relics and forts from that era.

As they say, before you go outside to find your true love don’t forget to fall in love with yourself. And the same rule applies to your relationship with your city.

Start where you are. Be a tourist in your own city. Look at it the way a tourist would see it. Sometimes just wander around like an explorer with an open mind and fresh perspective. Go quiet and listen to the same sounds you’ve ignored all your life – the honking of motor vehicles, yelling of people and barking of stray dogs. You’ll be surprised to find a soothing music in these otherwise annoying noises too. Never get bored of your city.

The problem is we’re traveling in a loop. Don’t be stuck. Don’t be caught in the route from home to work and back to home. On weekends, don’t get strangled in a new loop of home to supermarket to back home. It is OK sometimes to ditch the nearest theater or the closest restaurant. Loops suck you inside like a whirlpool. And there’s often a high chance of sinking in the whirlpool of monotony of your daily life in your own city.

Be a traveler, seeker and wanderer. Find new roads and trails. Craft new journeys. It can never happen that you’ve covered your whole city. If you look properly, there’ll always be a place you’ve never been before. Also try going to the same place with a new perspective. Been there by car already? Now try going by bike. Been there by bike before? Now try going by bicycle. If you’re even fitter than I think why not, go for a run or walk on the other side? Try different times of the day. Been there for sunrise, now watch the sunset by the same place. The view is never the same. Each time you’ll find the same place look new. Each new place will make your time feel different. You just have to make up your mind to escape the ordinary.

The sun, the moon and the stars may be equally tired of looking at the same planets for gazillions of years now. But remember, they’re also moving objects. They travel in the galaxy and change positions in the universe. Even if one argues that their movement happens to complete a full circle, still each time they return to the start the time zone has changed. And maybe, that’s why they haven’t got bored and caught in that loop for these gazillions of years.

Perspective of the Place:

We are at a place at a particular time for a reason. You don’t have to try to find that reason always. Be in the moment and let the place grow on you. Keep moving and wait for your time zone. It’s important to keep moving. Change directions. Every time you change direction you will know that you’re being re-directed towards something new.

So here in Pune, I have my days of doubts but I don’t look backwards for too long. I just keep moving forward. Opening up new doors and filling in new curiosities by doing new things. And sometimes doing the same old things in some new ways.

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