Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Columbus. We first come across this name in the pages of our World History books in the form of Christopher Columbus. He was a European navigator who landed in America and who in his infinite wisdom proclaimed that he had reached the shores of India. Since that day onwards, men have been chastised for failing to ask for directions. Also since Arnab Goswami wasn’t born then, nobody in the Nation really wanted to know why he had dared to think that it was India.
Time flew by and gradually the Americans realised that they need to honour this gentleman who many would argue did not discover America but none could deny the fact that it was he who opened the gates of America to the Europeans. Europeans, who historically have never been big fans of respecting sovereignty of lands, promptly came and claimed America as theirs. It was only much later, when we Indians started to flock these shores that concepts of H1B, L1 etc. were introduced.
So anyway, joyously the Americans named three cities after Columbus. Columbia in South Carolina, Washington D.C. in District of Columbia (whatever that means), and lastly Columbus in Ohio where I find myself for the sixth consecutive month now.
Before I travelled, I posted a status on my facebook wall. “Hey anyone living in or around Columbus?” The post did not get a single like or comment.
It is a fascinating place in the sense that nothing much happens here and the best part of it is that locals seemingly are very happy about that fact. If anyone has been unlucky enough to see the atrocious movie named ‘The Village’ by Manoj Night Shyamalan and unluckier to remember the plot, would recollect how the Elders had created a fear psychosis among the villagers about the evils surrounding their land and how that fear helped them prevent the population from venturing beyond the boundaries of their village. I have a strong feeling that Manoj Night Shyamalan had based his plot on the city of Columbus. Of course I am exaggerating. There are no forests around Columbus.
The fact that time stands still here is incorrect. Stand is a verb which implies an action being done. That naturally cannot be applied to Columbus. It is a place where however, one of Newton’s laws of Motion is epitomised. The first law that states that an object will remain at rest unless acted upon by an external force could not have been better exemplified than by the city of Columbus. No force, internal or external has bothered to act here, By God, since the origination of Time.
Of course I am exaggerating. There is no concept of Time here. It is a state of perennial continuum.
I chose to move into a corporate apartment close to the client’s office. On the first weekend, I searched for places of entertainment near to my apartment. Nearest Shopping Centres and malls - 22 kilometres. Nearest theatre showing Indian movies- 24.6 kilometres. Never has the word nearest felt so abused as it did after this search. This was the capital of a state in the United States of America and I was living in the heart of the downtown. I usually walk back from office at around 5-6 pm. The number of people that I see on the streets including the ones inside the cars is way lesser than what I saw during peak curfew hours back in the nineties in Shillong.
Of course I am exaggerating. Shillong is the capital of the huge state of Meghalaya.
Two brave individuals Jyothish and Aritra who were here before I landed and who graciously opened their home and alcohol bottles to me on weekends, have since moved on to New York and now post pictures of weekends spent in Central Park.
Meanwhile I hum the lines of this epic song from the excellent movie Jeans. “Columbus Columbus Chhutti Hai Aai… Aao koi naya mulk dhoonde chalke Bhai”.

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