Unmesh Jadhav, 21, a student from Pune on getting used to life in Kolkata.
When and why did you come to Kolkata?
I moved to Kolkata in June 2014 to get an MA in film studies from Jadavpur University. I had graduated from Fergusson College in Pune. I fell in love with the university the first time I came here.
Was it difficult adjusting to the city?
This is the first time I have moved away from home so it did take some time to figure things out. Pune has beautiful weather most of the year and it isn’t humid. So adjusting to the weather was a big part. Also, Kolkata is much bigger, the food and the language are different but I don’t think I saw anything as a problem. Moving here was my own decision and I loved being out of my comfort zone.
Was language a difficulty?
It was. Some of the professors would slip into Bengali while teaching. They would translate, but it would disturb the flow the class so I stopped asking them. A year on, I speak the language with ease. That I attribute to my friends. They taught me everything, from curse words to poetry. Also, I am good at languages. I speak six now.
Do you miss your hometown?
Homesickness is a companion I’ve made peace with. Unlike most of my friends, I never felt any such need to leave home. My mother has always given me my space. I was blissfully comfortable there. I think that’s why I had to move. But, yes, I do miss home.
Do you consider yourself a Kolkatan now?
Of course, I do. I drink cha at the corner and mix with the old kakus who are always discussing either the weather or the economy. I haggle at the market in Bangla just the way my friends taught me. I yell at the auto-wallahs when I try crossing the roads. Imitating my friends became a part of who I am. But I can’t say I’m just Kolkatan. My hometown is equally a part of who I am and I think I’ve got a dual identity. Or rather, I am antavaseen, a person living on the outskirts looking within. I like belonging to a place and a culture a lot. The rooted nature of people here is similar to Pune so I feel at home.
City Seekers: A series on migrants in urban India