Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pathran Da Shehar – Chandigarh

Most of my Chandigarh friends would disagree with what I am going to write. And at the same time, my friends from Punjab would have few more experiences to add to mine.

Chandigarh ik patthran da shehar e. (Chandigarh is a city of stones.)

The garden of rocks

My room mate at Ludhiana was flabbergasted when I told her this after my brief stint with the City Beautiful. Trying to relax her creased temple I told how surprising it was to see a garden of rocks (the famous rock garden).

And then I went her telling how no one on a four-wheeler would guide you how to reach particular sector. Instead people threw that filthy look as if you were some alien and were asking way to the wonderland.

Having learnt this bitter lesson, I started turning towards cyclists or rickshaw wallas to ask my way from sector 17 to the Punjab secretariat or other places of news gathering. They not only proved much better guides but understood how confusing the round abouts of City Beautiful could be for a new comer.
Every sector seemed same to me and every round about a twin of the last one.

The nightmare was not to end here. I found not even a single decent living place, which could match my paltry salary the newspaper paid me. Areas around Mohali industrial area (under developed in 2004) wore deserted looks just after 7 pm.

Only construction workers and vehicles from Dell office (then under construction) frequented the roads near my office. For first five days I managed to put up with a colleague, who did so most unwillingly.

On weekend, I left for home at Bathinda leaving my bags at my so-called friend’s place. Returning a day later, to my horror, I found her house locked. When I called her up she said, “I’ve come to my place in Amritsar. I am sorry sweetie I forgot to inform you and even your luggage is at my place. Don’t worry you can collect it after two days.” And she slammed the phone.

I was left in mid of no where in a completely strange city. That was the first and last time in my life when I didn’t know where was I going to sleep? I called up a girl, who was in accounts section the newspaper, and narrated her my woes.

She consoled me and told to come up at her place in Mohali where I could put up for a night. It took me more than hour to reach a place, which was just 15 minutes away from my office.

I thanked God and prayed Him to make an arrangement for next night. Next day I got up and my host told me that they were going to have some relatives in the evening, which meant I would have to remove my bags by 11 am.

It was them I remembered that one of my colleagues from Bathinda was staying in Mohali with his wife and son. I called him up and asked if I could stay at his place for one day and he replied, “Why one day? Come and stay with us. Its your home. Tell me where are you presently? I’ll come and pick you as well as your luggage.”

And I stayed with his family for 15 days. We lived like a family. The rock city made me resign from my job and go back to Ludhiana.

That’s why I call it Pathran da shehar.