Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.
‘Luxuries are never so comfortable as are the familiar, ordinary things of home’
This quote precisely describes the uniqueness of a ‘home’ and one has this sense of realization especially when away from yours. The gratification of being at home is incomparable. The very thought of revisiting the place I owe my identity to fills me with excitement and cheer and I cannot wait for time to fly.
I was born and brought up in the city of Allahabad, only to become a Delhi-ite on attaining adulthood. Delhi, which is a big, fast-paced metropolitan and a hub of activities, has a very different life as compared to Allahabad which in turn is a smaller, a more serene and not so happening place to be. Allahabad literally means ‘settled by Allah’ in Persian. Allahabad is known as the ‘Teerthraj’, the only place in the world where one can witness the confluence of the three rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati which is known as ‘Sangam’ and the site for the Hindu mass pilgrimage, the world-renowned ‘Kumbha Mela’. These would be a few connotations for the religious aspect of Allahabad. Besides, all major religions like Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism and Buddhism are practiced in Allahabad.
The city is a well connected one with narrow pathways and wide houses stretching out onto the main road. The people residing are not much in number but we are all good at adjusting therefore, we do not need traffic lights as we have police personnel at major junctures. People prefer two-wheelers over cars, which are mostly brought out from the garage for those special occasions or family picnics. The most common mode of transport, however, is the eco-friendly cycle-rickshaw, because we believe in sustainable development of the environment.
Malls are not a commonplace (we do have a few) but more popular are the retail outlets which do not have big brand names. But, the shopkeepers do make an effort to treat you like brand ambassadors when they make you sit the way a King would be asked to and by presenting one piece of clothing after another, in a manner to please you. For the shopaholics, ‘Chowk’ would be the right destination to explore. Being an Allahabadi and not liking street food can be a very embarrassing thing. The Indian fast food in Allahabad are a marvel- from Nirala ki Chat, Hariram ke Samosa, Jalebi, Emarti, Rabri, nothing can compare to these little joys of life.
Besides, Civil Lines is considered to be the posh area in Allahabad as it is lined with a lot of fine restaurants and the few malls we have. Civil lines is the coolest place to hang out with friends and one can find the young crowd in a stream of bikes and scooties and the few ‘socialites’ out there. Another exotic place to chill is the new Yamuna Bridge which is encompassed by the wide stretch of the river site. Allahabad is undoubtedly a very safe place to be in as people around you are somehow connected to you, because of the fact that it is extremely close-knit. On a sadder note, you can really land into trouble for the same fact because if you’re planning a date the news will surely find a way to your relatives and inquisitive neighbors.
Even though we do not get the best of facilities, Allahabad has produced the finest of people who have acquired distinctions in their fields. It has been the home to 7 out of 14 Prime Ministers in India,Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru being one. Then, Madan Mohan Malviya, Amitabh Bachchan, Vikas Swaroop, Mohammad Kaif would be some of the other popular names. But now, we’re surely moving towards progress as the Government of India has selected Allahabad as one of the mission cities for the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, with the goals of improving infrastructure and providing efficient governance and basic services to urban citizens. On a concluding note,we certainly look forward to the free laptops and tablets which the students have been promised by our new Chief Minister Mr Akhilesh Yadav.