I have lived across different parts of India. My father was a government servant and this gave me the opportunity to do so. Further, after my studies, I lived and worked in different states in the north, south, east, west, central and south of India.
I found every place fascinating and the people interesting. I have learnt life lessons from each of the places I have lived and from the people living there. Although, I was born in Trichy, Tamil Nadu, I did pursue my education in Kolkata, Jabalpur and Chennai. I started working in Chennai and then moved to Bhilai, Indore, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and my last stint was in Mumbai.
Each city is close to my heart and made me a better human being in many different ways. Let me start with Kolkata. A city rich in heritage and culture taught me patience and tolerance. It also made me realise the richness of Indian culture and how traditions can be sustained through active community participation.
Jabalpur is almost the city of the defence forces. We can see heavy defence equipment being manufactured here. This city taught me how our defence personnel sacrifice their lives for the nation and protect our national borders for all of us. I also learnt pure unadulterated spoken and written Hindi from this city and its inhabitants.
Chennai is in my home state. I learnt to lead a simple life from this city. I also learnt how education can make a man and external material success is not the ultimate in life. The people in this city also taught me to be rooted in family traditions and understand the multifaceted dimensions of my religion – Hinduism.
Bhilai taught me cosmopolitan living. This steel city is a mini India. I have met people from almost all states of India living and working together happily in this city. Nobody in this city is recognised by his religion, caste or state which they belong. They are only treated as human beings. This city inculcated the values of secularism and co-existence in a beautiful way.
Indore was my next destination. It taught me the tastes of India. The variety of food available in this place is unbelievable. Apart from food, the people in this place are vey helpful and enable you to settle well without you realising it. Today it is the cleanest city in India and has been awarded for being so for the third consecutive year.
I then moved to Delhi, the capital of India. Apart from beautiful wide roads and heritage like the Red Fort, Qutub Minar and the Humanyun’s tomb, it has brought people from all over the country and the world to live and work here. I learnt the meaning of risk taking in this city. Apart from being a planned city to a large extent, it has green well laid out parks almost in every community and has a lot to offer for visitors in terms art, craft and culture.
My next destination was Bangalore, which is the ultimate destination today, where I have settled post my retirement from active corporate life. I have always envied the weather in this city, which is pleasant almost throughout the year. It is greener than most other metropolises in India and can boast to be the Silicon Valley and hub for start ups too. I decided to settle here for the weather and wonderful flora and fauna in the city. Apart from the greenery, it has great world heritage cities within a 350 kms radium and possibly the largest forest cover in India.
My last destination before I hung up my boots from the corporate world was Mumbai. I loved this city for its spirt of living. I have not seen any other city welcoming immigrants from all walks of life with open arms. Further, every dream could be fulfilled for everyone if they were willing to put in their best and luck also favoured them. There are innumerable rags to riches story not because of family lineage here but because of the individual’s talent and the abundance of opportunities. This city taught me to bounce back from every low and believe that there is sun rise after every sun set.
So, having lived in every part of India and also travelled to almost all the continents of the world, I can say there cannot be a more beautiful and diverse country than India. Every city I lived gave me something to learn. It is time for me to give back to my country in my little ways.
S Ramesh Shankar
3rd February 2020