I came to Bangalore on a wintry October morning in 2015. To say that there were dreams in my eyes would be exaggeration. For the most part, I did not know if I wanted to be here. More than a thousand kilometers from home and the people who loved me, Bangalore was only a place to earn money and pay back the loan that I had taken for my education. Of course, I had lived away from home for the four years of college, but living in different cities in the same state and in different states were different things altogether. Besides, we had no friends or family in Bangalore. It was the city of clean slate, a city of beginning of my career life – a new chapter in my life.
There is a beauty in clean slate – it holds the promise of myriad wonderful things that would come. It makes you hopeful and makes you want to be a better version of yourself everyday. It is like going to the origin of a river and feeling that the water should remain thus pure even as it moves through civilization. Of course, it’s a fool’s dream, but it is a dream. It is a possibility. Maybe, if all of us had seen the beautiful origin of a river, we would think twice before dumping dirt into it.
Having lived in this city for about three years now, I look back on the day I arrived. The memories that I have are of a crowded train station, of an auto-driver telling us that he knew the destination that we wanted to go to and dragging our trolley bags out of that crowded station. A misty morning. I remember asking the driver while we passed the Phoenix mall what place it was. I remember being surprised that he charged us three hundred for a mere fifteen minutes ride – from where I came, that price was exorbitant. I remember struggling inside of ITPL tech park to search for the accommodation that my office had provided me, no one knew which building was Daffodil, and the office contact who was supposed to help me with the accommodation insisted the building was inside ITPL. It felt weird, because from first looks, it was a tech park full of office buildings. I couldn’t understand why there would be a residential building in it in the first place.
The first day of work is still fresh in my mind: my parents were to head back home, so I went to visit them at their hotel. We took a picture together, me in a pink formal shirt that I loved and had bought just before coming to Bangalore (the shirt got wasted within the first few weeks as I burned it while ironing). All three of us are smiling in that picture: my father with his booming all-toothed smile, proud that I am about to begin a new journey, my mother with her silent, peaceful smile, albeit a little tired from the train journey and her father’s death just before we boarded the train to Bangalore.
The first few days did not feel like work at all. In fact, even after so many months, it hardly feels like I go to work. Thanks for the major part to Mu Sigma, which took us all into its wings and created a safe haven for fresh college graduates like me, who were clueless about what professional life was really about. Within its meeting rooms, I learnt the meaning of accountability, the feel of working together in a team and standing up for the team. I learned to speak to clients and present the work that we had done. I learned to understand what business goals were and how we should focus on problem solving from a holistic approach, rather than looking at things in silos. Mu Sigma has added a perspective in my life. I am thankful.
Beyond the company, my tryst with Bangalore has been minimal. Bangalore for me is my home – one slice of a room in a three bedroom flat and my work. My work friends are also my outside-of-work friends in Bangalore. But I know countless people in this city now: a bunch of people who have moved on, changed companies, changed cities, and even countries. It is the city where I fell in love with the variety of people who touched my lives, learned to see the unity in diversity. This city made me trust strangers and make them friends. This city made me financially independent. This city helped me fulfill my family’s dreams.
The river has flown, meandering across villages and cities, swallowing up sins of the generation in its wake. I, too, have dealt with my demons in this city – insomnia and depression became two companions. But like the river is ever-flowing, never-stopping, this city taught me to look at every day as that new, clean slate. It made me forget a sad past and taught me to look ahead. It made me dream of a beautiful future and believe that it would become a reality. Bangalore – thank you! 🙂