Sunday, 6 July 2014

Cities: First Impressions

As the Sun sets over Shillong
I am one of those people who falls in love with cities. Wherever I go across the country, I keep looking out of the cab windows to gape at the cities, seeing them for the first time with the eyes of a newcomer.

As a result I have a mental list of first impressions of cities I have visited:

1) Bombay: Chaos at Bombay Central and a feeling of having been cheated because Hindi movies had conditioned me to expect otherwise.

2) Guwahati: OMG! It is a city as any other big city. The first image to stick in my mind was that of a giant building of ONLY Big Bazaar rising above a flyover. Where was the city of the Brahmaputra I had heard so much growing up?

3) Jammu: Is this the hills? Are we near Kashmir? You must be joking.

4) Dehradun: Oh come on! We are in the plains still.

5) Calcutta: Don't tell me dida, the most beautiful woman on earth stays here!!! (I must have been 4-5 years-old)

6) Hyderabad: Looks like any other town up north. What's with the fish building man!

7) Jaipur: Looks all red like the Red Fort! (This was years back and I had taken a bus)

8) Lucknow: OMG! This is Shann-e--Awadh? (About 20 years back) Then, Wow! Can I bring my family here for a trip? (4 years back)

9) Varanasi: Can I stay here? It is so old and full of mysterious houses and gullies. I love the monkeys who make faces at me. (As a kid we used to go there very often as my grandma from dad's side stayed there)

10) Goa: Lurve the vibe! It's perfect to hide and to be found. Can I shift there any time soon?

11) Gangtok: Outta picture postcard!

12) Shillong: How much does a house cost here? I want to move immediately!

13) Chennai: OMG! Another big city.

14) Bhubaneshwar: So many temples? I like it except... where does everyone go in the afternoon? Can't even buy a paan.

15) Pushkar: You are joking right? This is an extension of Delhi's Paharganj. I love it! :D

16) Trivandrum: Why does no one wear shoes here? I like the Punk vibe and so much fish in every dhaba! Yo!!!

17) Bangalore: Another city and they said it's pretty!

18) Kullu: Picture postcard

19) Kanpur: Where's the way outta here?

20) New Delhi: You were lying about all those arty stuff. Right?

21) Agra: No, no, nooooo...

22) Ahmedabad: It's not that bad. Only I cannot survive on veggie food.

23) Kathgodam: This is the foothills of the Himalayas? You are kidding. Right?

24) Shimla: Where's the city from the stories of the Raj?

...and there are more, many more smaller towns, villages and others that I have forgotten now and will come back in time or be lost forever. Here are some pictures from various trips around India. Though you can only see them if you are my FB buddy.

PS: The pictures would be post 2007 because I did not have a camera or a camera phone before that. The rest, as they say are memories...

Ward's Lake Shillong
Ganj, Lucknow

Jaipur: At a 5 star property
Somewhere in a village in Uttrakhand
In a village in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh

Shimla, Himachal Pradesh


  1. I look forward to reading your posts, Shoma. You are such a talented writer! All your posts have something special in them :)

    1. Thanks A. :) Lovely to hear from you too. Like your stories as well. :)

  2. you are such a well traveled person!! I envy youuuuu!! I love travelling too :D

    The pics are really very beautiful! I loved the last (Shimla) pic, this mansion reminds of those movies set in colonial times :)

    1. Hi Ankita, Thanks. Traveling is an education unto itself. First impressions are usually hilarious. So, I thought I'd put them down before memories give way. I loved the old house off Shimla Mall too. It looked haunted. :)


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