If Ludhiana taught me the value of home, and if Lucknow gave me survival instinct, and Mumbai gave me wings to fly, then I often wonder about role of Nagpur in my life.
I have been to several cities of India, but there are only five cities where I have stayed and lived like a local. I have already written stories about Ludhiana in this challenge, and posts specifically on Lucknow and Mumbai. I have not seen or lived in Chennai enough to write about it yet. But, Nagpur is one of the cities I never mentioned. It was the place where I did my first job ever. Before getting transferred to Lucknow, I was there for 6 months. So it is kind of a milestone city for me.
Let me recall the things I tried there for the first time:
1. I worked on a shop floor of a tractor assembly line. I was a blue collared worker for the first time, with a dungaree on me and greased hands. It was a tough manual job, but we slept well.
2. It was the first time in my life, I shared a rundown apartment with six other boys, who didn't know each other. Packed like sardines, learning to manage with limited resources. As there was a Tamilian, I also learnt few words in Tamil.
In the middle of one night, I woke up to answer nature's call. I realised someone was in the toilet. But then to my shock, MV (the Tamilian) was in the bathroom, taking a leak. I got so pissed off (pun not intended), but he said he was under pressure and toilet was not vacant. For next few days I only know, how I took a shower in that bathroom.
3. I received my first salary in Nagpur. It was a meagre amount, but no salary after that has made me that happy. We all went to the ICICI ATM nearby. That was the first time we used ATM (year 2002). We spent that money eating out in a good restaurant and buying stuff for family members.
4. There was this bet gone wrong, where I ended up kissing a guy for the first and the last time. SC will remember that. Well technically it wasn't a kiss, just a brush of lips. But we both being straight, it was kind of embarrassing. The bet was to take Parle G biscuits from his mouth without using hands. SC and I are best of friends today. But we never kissed again. Thankfully.
5. But above all, I made non Punjabi friends in my life for the first time. Rajasthani, Tamilian, Maharashtrians. I got introduced to foods and cultures of India, unknown to me before that. And I relished that experience.
There is lot of other stuff that happened in Nagpur, not necessarily the firsts. But I would like to remember Nagpur as the city of firsts.