Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

47. In a Metropolis

In a metropolis, would you advice someone to sit in a car of strangers? Especially if one is new to the area and it is late in the evening? And more especially if that person is a woman? But I was exactly doing that in Bengaluru.

Sometimes by breaking norms, you get stimulating experiences.

There were three people, an old couple and their working son. I had known the couple for just two hours and the son for 15 minutes. But we were chatting as if we knew each other for ages.

I was flying from Raipur to Bengaluru, via Hyderabad. I liked the new look of Hyderabad airport, the cleanliness, the speciousness, the arrangements …. Everything was good. As I had to catch connected flight, I had to spend few hours at the airport. A couple of about 55 to 60 years joined me in the lounge. Only three of us were there. Both of them were looking bit nervous, stressed and lost. They were throwing glances at me and discussing something in Malyalam. I could understand their anxiety and I smiled at them. They were relieved and immediately started conversing with me.

The couple was originally from Kerala, but due to job they had stayed in Bhopal for many years. Now they were traveling to their son at Bengaluru. They wanted to travel by train, but the son had sent flight tickets. This was their first air travel; they were anxious and worried about their luggage (that directly went to the Bengaluru plane.) They were not sure whether they should have security check again, whether the son will come to the airport, how to pick up the baggage at Bengaluru….. I could understand their emotions and assured help. I promised that I would give them company until their son arrived.

We had a cup of coffee together, exchanged feelings on Bhopal, they told me about their granddaughter, and I shared my work with them………… and our flight was announced.

When we reached Bengaluru, I helped uncle and aunty to pick up their baggage, pushed their trolley, we came out. I patiently said ‘no’ to many taxiwalhas…. The son was not there to receive them. Uncle hurriedly tried his mobile, but the son was ‘out of coverage area’. Uncle tried his son’s office number, it was engaged. He tried residence number, could not connect. Both uncle and aunty visibly started shaking. Holding their trolley by one hand, and taking care of my luggage with the other hand, I was trying to calm them down.

I asked uncle to keep his mobile open for calls in case his son tries to contact. From my mobile, we kept on calling different numbers. After ten minutes, we could get in touch with the daughter in law. She got worried that her husband was not at the airport. We tried different numbers. In the mean time, I sent SMS to the son…… I asked the daughter in law the residence address and was ready to take the old couple to their residence.

Then the son appeared (he was waiting at the other side of the arrival gate)…. The son was touched by my help to his parents. The family invited me to stay with them. When I told them about my travel plan to Chamrajnagar, they decided to drop me at the spot where my colleague was to wait for me. Actually they forced (with affection of course) me into their car.

We had interesting talk on the way. The son was born and brought up in Madhya Pradesh, annually visited Kerala, post graduated in Pune and now was working in Bengaluru. When he knew that I was from Pune, he became very friendly to me.

He said, “I am going through an identity crisis. To which place do I belong? I speak Malyalam but I have no place to go and stay in Kerala. Bhopal, I have good memories, but I cannot get job there. Now I am placed in Bengaluru, but I keep on feeling that I am an outsider. What is my identity? Which state, which culture, which language do I represent? In my country, I am an emigrant.”

I could understand his sense of isolation and loss of identity. I can understand the feeling of ‘not being part of the crowd around’. Identity crisis emerges when people around you are so different. You start questioning yourself the meaning of all your actions, thoughts and emotions, because nobody seems to understand those. True, when one has firm roots, one can live with better confidence and better self-esteem.

But what if one has no roots, nothing to fall back? I guess, one chooses to move forward – may be by compulsion or by choice. But one moves on. The moving itself creates an identity which is a combination of multiple aspects. A metropolis, a crowd is a good background to create a new identity, a new way of life, a new thought process, because nobody has time to inspect what you are doing.

In a metropolis (crowd), one can choose to feel alone…

In a metropolis (crowd), one can choose to feel free…

In a metropolis (crowd), one can live with oneself…


  1. so true..

    "What if one has no roots, nothing to fall back? I guess, one chooses to move forward"
    and these days if we refuse to move forward....we might just fall back badly!

  2. Nice one! Yes, the problem is we do not know for sure who we truly are. All we know is the bits and fragments given to us by society in the name of social identity- and these have no substance or endurance- they keep changing- like mini roles in a community theatre- We depend too much on our minds to 'define' who we are.. Mind depends a lot on categorisation, conflict and comparison.. May be this is why when I think of myself as a 'doctor', rest of the world gets promptly relegated to the category of 'patients'- so forth and so on..

  3. I get this feeling when i visit my birthplace where except for my parents and brother noone knows me. So having roots also does not always work. Isn't it amzing? So as you sid Times change and one has to always catch up with it.

  4. Your blogs are an interesting read. The incidence described in metropolis is touching and your musings on the subject ( loss of identity) are thought provoking as always. Please keep writing.


  5. Savita tai,
    after long time I have visited the blog. its look more pretty. very well manged.

    the metroplois post is the good one, mainly the last section on identity crisis. once I also felt the same. where I belong to.


  6. Nice post ... as always.
    I like your titles as well.. they are very appropriate.
    How can you think so much? and express too?


  7. Anoo, yes falling back badly is a danger...
    Sachin, we are taught to categorise and in some ways it helps in daily life. But too much of it causes this identity crisis... can we be one with whateve is present around is a kind of spiritual challenge, I believe.

    Anonymous, you are right. Just by threads of other connections (like family, birthplace etc.) one cannot create one's identity. So, I guess that is not enough. Even after that one may have identity crisis.

    Thanks ARB for your compliments.

    Thanks KP for your compliments too.

    And DD, you have your share of thanks.. you know most of my titles emerge through the post, that is why they seem to be self-explanatory.


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