awareness, education · City

The City – My tryst with Myself

By- Nidhi Batra (This is the entry that Ms. Batra had read at Sheher-e-Mehfil, organised by Centre of Contemporary Urbanism and Sehreeti on 20 August at Delhi)

What is it really about urbanization, about urban life, about cities, about new places that pulls me to them as a magnet?

I believe there is a force – an immense force in cities. Just how we talk of energy and fields of energies connecting us to each other and to the bigger universe- similar phenomenon is most prevalent in cities.

It is an immense manifestation, of man and God together.

In cities you find His creation and the man’s. Both are trying to fool each other that they are in control. Scales get bigger. Buildings compete with mountains. Roads compete with rivers. Land competes with sea. And it all comes with intense drama. Drama that stimulates each and every sense and even more. From the magic of billboard lights to the texture of bare earth, all are most enjoyable.

Pacing life up, chasing it, speed, raw human creation, business, money, challenges, and adventures – all are packaged in a city life. Along with this – is a herd of people, strange faces, new behaviors- all that present an interesting sight for an urban flaneur who loves to observe and lose herself more than often. They say, a city is the theatre of social drama, a stage for interaction. I say through that – it is a platform of self realization.

A city lets me become lost…and found. I find myself in its buzz. I find myself in its race, its hopes, desires, and development. I find myself in its glamour and its atrocities. A city also lets me lose myself in its vastness, in its parks, in its beaches and in its empty wide roads the most.

Cities – are in Whitman’s song of the open road. The city resonates in the spirit of the man. Ready, courageous, and forging ahead.

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune.

I also love the idea of urbanization. I enjoy the fact that we are contributing to our own growth. The fact that we believe that we should take actions to decide the fate of humankind on this planet. I am proud that we have a vision or at least attempt to have it. I like that it’s not organic in thought. I believe – that is exactly how God wanted us to react- to use our brain and work with him to make the world habitable. I think cities are a sign of human race finally being habitable or creating a habitat. Of course there are ideologies of how correctly to make that habitat. For now, all I am saying is that I like the act of creating a habitat. I might imagine my habitat with butterflies and tall buildings together, but that’s a different discussion.

I also believe that cities are our palette of discovery. A city is adorned with shades and colors. We play with those, to paint our own canvas.

If you haven’t come to a city – you still haven’t found yourself. In a city, one is faced with multiple realities. Realities of your own, realities of your past, realities of the immediate future and the realities of most imaginative visionary ideas. Which one of these realities you adopt is up to you, but you definitely get to deal with them and face them.

In the diversity of culture, thoughts, and actions, you make your own decision of where you belong. You are bombarded with multiplicity. You are your own decision maker, your own judge, and your own administrator.

A city lets me believe that there is more. Always more. That there is more in me. There is much more in the world. And even more in the universe. There are no limits. Hence, there can be no limits to me. The city gives me the power of an individual. The city gives me the potential within me.

Cities and travel have led me to my path of self discovery.. hope we all find ourselves in our own special city. I found a tinge of me in Venice… back in 2007

Venezia venezia ..the waters called

I sat thru the blues of Venice..
Sipping the wine..
With its flavours in the sky..
Was leaned back….but, head held high..
With the thought..
The world is there..calling for me..
It awaits the waters of Venice did…
As if venezia was me…
It was me resonating in the blues..
The color up in the sky..was mine..
The sip tat I was savouring..was me…
The enjoyment I had.. was me..

Venezia venezia….the world will call.. Forever

Cities are a gift- a self gift that we have given to our own selves. Happy presenting to self…. comrades.



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