I often get asked where I am from, especially ever since I’ve started blogging. Every time, I try to escape giving vague responses that leave people confused. The truth is that the answer has grown complicated over time. Some people expect me to tell where my parents stay while others expect me to tell them which language I speak. And then yes, after all that explanation people ask me what does the place Varanasi have to do with my surname or vice versa. I guess this should have been my first post, but let me try to catch up.
I was born in Calcutta, at Woodlands, which was a reputed hospital at the time. I spent my childhood over there munching on Bengali sweets and jhal-muri till I was about 6 years old. I was such a fan of jhal-muri as a kid that I would take control of the kitchen whenever I was hungry and chop up all the ingredients so the entire family could feast on it.
My next six years were in Bangalore where I spent the peak years of my life. I loved the city a lot more at the time, when IT was booming and it was a still green. This was the place that shaped my personality the most.
Next we moved to a place near Bokaro Steel City in Jharkhand and given the sudden change of atmosphere I couldn’t cope with the surroundings. Although now that I think of it, it was quite a peaceful place where we had a garden, a huge quarter between forests where we could listen to wolves howling at night during winters, and that wasn’t scary. However, 3 years later, I decided to join a boarding school at my mum’s hometown at Vizag, for two years. So yeah, I’ve been away from home since I was 15.
I then joined my college in Rajasthan, a few hours from Jaipur where I spent four years. It was the most beautiful state that I lived in and places around are extremely rich in culture. I’m proud of my college as well, it consisted some of the smartest girls I’ve met in my life.
I then moved to Mysore, where I was trained for my first job. Mysore was also a clean and colorful city. I fell in love with it instantly. After a brief period of six months, I was posted to Chennai. Despite all the negative comments I’ve heard about the place, I didn’t let it affect my opinion. If you look closely you would find that people out there are more down to earth and not materialistic. While I moved there my parents moved from Jharkhand to Bangalore, after which I frequently visited Bangalore from Chennai.
After about five cozy years at Chennai, I moved to Pune, although technically I was at Mumbai for the first six months and then came back to Pune. I’ve been enjoying my stay here quite a lot. People are open and friendly. I’ve been trekking and traveling a lot more from here.
My parents belong to Andhra. My mum is from Vizag, one of my favorite cities, and my dad is from a town on the banks of Godavari called Rajahmundry. Staying at all these places has even allowed me to learn bits of Bengali, Kannada, Hindi, Tamil, a tiny bit of Marathi and of course my mother tongue Telugu. I tried to take the best out of every place which and learned at a young age that change is the only constant.
And oh, almost forgot! About Varanasi, it could be that our ancestors are from there, but I’ve got no proof 😬.