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It’s been more than 3 years now when I first landed in this whole new world of 4500 miles from India. A world that was completely alien for me. I don’t know what others feel when they arrive in a new country, but for me it was no less then deplaning on some other planet with the only difference that I could see people with blonde hair and fairer skin which we saw only on television watching channels like BBC or star world instead of seeing an inhabitant of other planet whose description could be eerie.For a shy and introvert girl like me who lived in city of Lucknow, which definitely is not a metropolitan city, travelling to the UK was an equivocal experience. Few months before the journey were full of excitement and thrill of visiting a country that was envisaged in some corner of my mind being an English literature student and like every other student it was a dream to visit the land of Shakespeare and Jane Austen. But, as the day of departure approached, the world of dream and fantasy was overpowered by the world of reality. I was leaving back my country, my home and most importantly my mother. Those few hours before the final boarding of flight were one of the most painful and heart-aching moments of my life. I wanted to tear off my passport, breach the security of IGI airport and run away. I still get goose bumps whenever I think about those moments. Anyhow, as I mentioned earlier, reality was taking its toll. I could not do what I wanted and finally boarded the flight to London. After landing at Heathrow International Airport, I completed all the formalities with blank mind or if you put it correctly-fearful mind. Here, I am digressing a bit from my actual point. Now when I think about my fear, I realise that apart from the fact that I was nervous because I was in a new country, another factor that enhanced my anxiety was that I was standing on the land of our colonizers. A country that still rules us in some way or the other and whose people are hauteur than others. Well! that is completely my interpretation of my fear. So, now coming back to where I left. After all the formalities, we had to take on another journey of 2 hours by bus to the city of Bristol. The picturesque green farms along the roads with sheep grazing in it made me forget the agony of leaving behind my place. I began to appreciate what my eyes were perceiving and escaped into the world of fantasy. Eventually the day-dreaming transformed into a nap. After dozing for about an hour, when I woke up the bus was entering its destination and the first thing I saw was a building named 5102. I was totally blank at that moment unable to understand anything. I just kept on questioning myself that “where am I”? what is this place? Slowly when I regained my senses, I comprehended that I was in a whole new world. The world that was not mine, the people who were not mine. The roads, buildings, traffic was not mine. The sense of detachment at once became so strong that even the nature, whose beauty I was admiring an hour ago, seemed to be completely estranged. At once I wished that may these deserted roads and organised traffic of England be swapped for crowded and jumbled roads of my country. May among these white faces, I find some acquainted faces. I yearned for my country at once. Again, I wanted to run away but could not because destiny wanted me to experience the new place, new culture and new people.
But believe me, even after living in this city for 3 years, whenever I pass that building “5102”, I still question myself the same thing I did 3 years back “where am I?” Although I am accustomed to this place now, but still the sense of detachment is as strong as it was 3 years back and to be honest, I want it to be forever and ever. I don’t want it to fade away and do believe that it never will. The reason for it…. longing for a place that is mine!