It’s certainly a sign of change, growth, movement, evolution — call it what you will — when you think back to a time in your life and you simply cannot relate to, or recognise the person you used to be.
Surely transformation cannot change you that much, I catch myself thinking, almost like I want to hope against hope that I have turned into a wholly different person. But there’s the truth. I do not recognise many aspects of myself from 6 years ago.
I cannot relate to the lifestyle we had, our work-life balance, how much I short-changed myself, and how little I settled for, in terms of gratification from work.
I do not recognise the person that lived with the in laws, in a house of 7 people waiting to greet you right outside your bedroom door, every time you stepped out. It was a time I had to get out of my night shorts and get into pants every time I wanted to leave my room. Nobody asked me to do it, I just did it because I felt it was expected.
I do not relate to most any of my friends from back then. I’m no longer in touch with most, but even the few that I am friends with either through the occasional whatsapp message binge, or on facebook, I cannot relate. It’s probably why I actively do not let any of them know when I do visit home.
I am borderline aghast when I think of some of the really silly/risky/stupid shenanigans I got up to, especially in the years before I was married. I was definitely a special kind of stupid person who operated under a combination of mild peer pressure and wanting to prove to myself that I could pull this grown up person thing off. Except, I was doing it all wrong. I know that now. And present me wants to sometimes go back in time and give past me a hug some times and a slap sometimes and assure her that eventually it all works out.
That the city is no longer my association of home, doesn’t help either. I feel like a visitor, an alien, a villager stuck in big city lights for the most part. Heck I don’t even know how to call and pay for a cab on my phone. But that apart, Bangalore has morphed into such a mutant, many-tentacled monolith, that I find myself cowering into corners to avoid getting around. Save for my home, catching up with my louwed-ones, and the customary visit to the in-laws, I never have the inclination or the energy to explore, get around, and paint the town red.
It’s certainly not the city I grew up in, but it isn’t even the city I left in 2010. For a few years I mourned the loss – both ways – the ache in the pit of my stomach from having to leave it and the stab in my back from how fast it changed. But not anymore. Now, I simply can’t relate.
Streets meander into a hazy mess, entire localities fuse into a nebulous mass and I have very little outside of the walls of my own home, where I feel that “Mama, I’m home” kind of feeling. It is like being stuck in limbo, floating weightless.
So when the thought of potentially moving back crops up in my mind. I want to fight back tears, shut the door on that conversation and never look back.