The smile that lit up my father’s face when I made my first dish, the long drives to the city’s outskirts every morning, the meaningless arguments with childhood buddies, bizarre ideas for an unseen future — these nuggets from my past in my hometown Guwahati never fail to bring a smile to my face when on a lazy summer afternoon I sit back to look for some familiarity in the ambiguity of a buzzing Delhi.
My shift to the “big bad” metropolitan city happened in 2006. People around me were a little circumspect and even warned me about how unsafe the national capital could get, especially for young women.
However, what I took back to my hometown on my first holiday was a sense of confidence and self-assurance.
Delhi gave me freedom but it also helped me realise my responsibility. At Delhi University I not only experienced life my own way but also shared my dreams and aspirations with my classmates for three years.
Looking back, I realise it was Guwahati that gave me the confidence to take the decision of moving to Perth, Australia, for my masters in international business.
My experience abroad was not only enriching but invaluable too as I could take calculated risks and believe in the decisions I took.
Driving back home every night from work in a foreign land, I often pondered on the futility of a lonely life amid the hectic schedules. There have been times when I have felt like going back to my hometown. After all, Guwahati was the only place in the world that would give me the comfort and financial security that I could only hope for in other cities. But then, there is a dilemma, and as Irish poet Oliver Goldsmith says, it has been impossible for most men to break through the dilemma of deciding to live in the callousness of the city or to go back to the laidback and weary life of the countryside.
In Delhi, where I currently work, I still have my moments of despair and anxiety, when I wish to go back home. It always seems a safer option. However, the fact is that when I am in my hometown, I inevitably crave for the freedom and independence of Delhi. I don’t think I will ever be able to choose between Guwahati and Delhi. Perhaps, it’s best that it remains that way.