People like me, who have never spent more than 3 years at a single place find others’ life quite boring. I personally can’t imagine myself living in the same city, walking on those same roads, looking at the same faces for more than 2-3 years.
But what does it mean to be a Gypsy? (Not exactly gypsy)! Shifting to a new city every 2-3 years, sometimes just after 1, taking admission in a new school, being the stranger again, how does it actually feel?
What happens when you shift to a new city?
Initially the neighbours of your new house will give a look as if some aliens have just landed from Mars. Eventually these stares become hospitable when you get to know each other. As a kid, the first thing I used to look for were kids of my age and place to play with them. This is what a child wants, otherwise what will they do in the evenings?
In my opinion this is the hardest part, the first day of new school. The first step you take inside the building, the atmosphere warns you “Beta maregi, pakka!” And you go in, this is what your parents have decided for you. You directly go to your classroom and take the safest seat possible. You are sitting there and everyone looks at you, whisper a few things about you and they get back to their own work. That moment when you suffer existential crisis, you hear a voice. You think finally there’s someone who wants to talk to you but they say ” Aye naye student, that’s my seat! “. Without wasting even a millisecond you get up and go to next most isolated seat. Then the teacher comes, he takes the class and only during attendance your existence would be noticed. With time you get to know everyone and your life gets smooth.
City as a whole
Every city has It’s own set of undeclared unique rules, and to know these you have to break them and experience the humiliation at least once. Believe me it’s sometimes too embarrassing. In the first six months your movements are constrained, you avoid doing anything different.
When you shift to a new city, you represent your whole old region e.g. when I used to live in Kerala, anything I do won’t lead to them judging me but they would judge the whole North India on the basis of that because I was transferred there from Noida. And I had to defend whole The North India alone. Then when I was transferred from Kerala to Indore, I used to be judged as a South Indian and I had to defend the whole of South India.
This is what happens; however close you get to the people you never become one of them, you remain an outsider forever.
Another difficult part is leaving the old place. The time you feel that finally you have made pretty good friends, you know quite a bit about the city, then is the time when another transfer knocks your door and you leave all your friends and everything behind and move to a new city to make new.
But such life teaches you a lot, the first thing it teaches you is that you see all kinds of people everywhere, it’s the individuality of each one of us that defines us not the place where we belong to. Judging someone just because that someone belongs to some place is not a right thing to do.
So far it has been fun being a “Gypsy” even after all the marginalisation. And I would really like the same life ahead.