Monday 20 September 2010

Soaking into a new place

Places are strange. With some you fall in love instantly, while some tease you and coax you to leave. I have experienced both. But some places just don't gel with you. While I always keep my eyes and mind open to a new place, I can immediately sense the feeling of being a bit stifled. I allow that to pass. I imagine that the place and I will gradually fall in love.

I have often wondered whether it is the place or the elements of a place which warm the insides. Do people matter when one does not like the place? What if the place is lovely but the people aren't? Does it make a difference?

I had imagined that I don't much like big cities. I was wrong. I like them. I like them to the extent of having a dispassionate relationship with them. It is a paradox. Cities like me. They seduce me with their neon lights and bright sights. They sometimes take me on never-ending journeys into labyrinths of pleasure and love. They have long trains and bus-rides. I love sitting inside those buses and trains imagining that it would last forever.

Sprinkling mountains, lushness of green and quiet nights: Can they satisfy me? Once they did. But that was a dream that was fulfilled. And I was young and willing to let go. I still would let go but the place does not allow me to.

Places and I have a strange love-hate relationship. What makes you like a place? What do you expect from a place? Tell me . . .

Image courtesy: Internet


  1. Susan! Nice post. Yes..I completely agree with the relationship with places. I fell in love with Mysore the day I stepped on its land. I loved everything about it. Beautiful greens, wide roads, historic buildings, sweet people and mixed culture.

    Whats the new place..? You shifted..?

  2. I do not how you do it, but i am always enjoying each and every one of your posts.;)

    For me places become special because of people, but also many other things. Having lived in so many places, and having called "home" many places in my life, I tend to *feel* a new place I arrive to. No matter what, it is the very few first minutes after I arrive to a new place that will determine whether I will love a place or not. Yes of course, one can get "used" to live somewhere and accept it in the end, even grow to like it, but your *love* for a place is instantaneous. That has been my experience.
    So what does make me love a place? It can be the scent, the views, the weather or climate, nature, people and a certain atmosphere, that simply contains something I cannot pt my finger on.;) There has been very few - if any - places that had all of the above, thus I am still looking...;)
    Have a lovely Monday dear Susan,

  3. Interesting question. My answer is: it depends. Am I going to live there or just visit? I love the peaceful serenity of the mountains on a cool crisp autumn day. I enjoy the thunderous drumming of ocean's waves playing upon the shore on a hot summer's day. And I am quite sure I'd be happy living at either place. With that said where I am at now is where I am most at home. It took 20 years but I have roots now and it would take quite an effort to transplant me.

  4. Susan i have lived for most in cities and have enjoyed the comforts and privileges the city provides and am immensely grateful for that.
    But i think to love a place completely has got a lot to do with your own selfish interests. i have loved Chennai deeply because it satisfied all my needs and i was fortunate enough to get both the affection and my own sense of space from people.Had sweet and sour experiences but all my needs were fulfilled.
    of late though as i think i am evolving i would love to live in a country/village where i can listen to more natural sounds of birds...cicadas and crickets... and walk amidst fields...bushes...
    This could just be a phase but then i would love to be in this at the moment.
    oh yes the country should have water and electricity...:)See that once again needs...physical and mental.
    Have a fulfilling week and just like you say,
    joy always to you too.Thanks for stopping by on mine.

  5. i think there are different textures to places that i enjoy..i enjoy the serentiy fo the mountains and the lap of the waves at the beach...i enjoy the city for its sense overload...too much of either woul ruin for me what makes them special. luckily i live in a place where i can have each if i want. i think it is interesting to see people in different places and how that affects who they are....

  6. the romanticism about country side is a fake...stitched up by writers and poets who havent been there

    For a metro is more easy in a city..

    you put in2 a focus very crucial issue thats considered trivial

  7. I know what you mean. When I had to eventually move to India for good, I was really glad it was Bombay and not anywhere else. I loved Bombay and probably still do. Visited Madras when I was 11 or 12 and somehow it didn't do it for me and I still vividly remember the train entering Bombay and that feeling of 'home'. Now I feel the same for Sydney...home. I am a city girl. Although compared to Bombay, Sydney was not a city to me. But I've grown to love the place and especially the suburb I live in. I felt at home instantly. Has to do with both the people and the place...

  8. What I expect most from a new place is a bit of a tricky question. You see, I have learned to follow my instincts about places, just as I do about people. Before I move to a new place, it seems I already have a pre-arrival impression of it, and that sort of gets my instincts moving. Or, maybe it is my instincts that drive the impression. I'm not sure. It's just that, when I actually arrive, if I don't feel the place falling on me warmly, I know that this place is just not for me, and I am not for it. I have had this happen with very few places in my life... most of the time, I am adaptable. But, it seems that our bottom line as people is "society". We are social creatures, and if the people in a new place are not friendly and embracing, no matter how lovely the place is, I want OUT!

    Funny, Susan. This is a topic I could actually write a whole book about, and somehow, I felt tongue-tied in putting together a few sentences to sum up how I feel.

    Thank you for the broad spectrum of discussion topics. They are always such a delight!

    Wishing you a lovely Monday.

    Warm hugs,

  9. lucky you to be able to travel so much!
    my University profession doesn't allow me, but yes, I fall in love with almost every place I visit

  10. Places that I have visited rarely live up to the advertisement broacher. For me...There is no place like home :-)


  11. Different places satisfy different things. I guess it depends what my mood requires at the moment. One thing I know though, is that no matter where we are we take our troubles or our happiness with us.

    I really enjoyed your post.

    Thanks Deborah.

  12. I think people and surroundings are very important. For instance, one can be in a beautiful city, but be enclosed by rather horrid people...which does not create a very happy atmosphere.

    I am a city person through and through and some of my favourite places in the world are London, Edinburgh and Paris. Though I love the country and think it wonderful, I could not live there. I need the buzz of human life around me, the kind of impersonal passion one only finds in urban heartlands.

  13. Wow :) Lovely topic as usual dear Susan. In my opinion and experiences people do matter when its a new place. The place might be nice and beautiful but if people around you are annoying, you obviously connect that place with those people whenever you think of them. And new cities or towns always keep you engaged and content even if are alone. You totally fall in love with such places that you dont realize that you are alone :) Im sure you wud have experienced this in you Ireland trip :)


  14. Though places don't differ from one another
    some make us feel as if they smother
    while others tend to act as soother
    It is in the mind I would say rather.

  15. You are right--there are places that just speak to us. When that happens, it's beautiful!

  16. Just wanted to say hello. Taking a breather before I get back to the mountains where there is no internet.

  17. Like they say before selecting your house have a look at the neighbourhood and then decide.
    But the same thing is not possible for a city /town I suppose.

    One thing I agree with you and that is "love sitting inside those buses and trains imagining that it would last forever"
    Don't like short rides.

  18. Nice post (as always :))
    My personal take is that being a people's person, the true meaning or association with a place is based on my interactions with people there - At work, family, friends - that matters the most - Sometimes I feel I am shallow - I can't look within for too long - I need support from outside...

  19. Great read, Susan. :)
    I prefer living in big cities for all those they can provide rather than living in mountains. I agree with you, they are places that speak to us for some reason.

    B xx

  20. Sameera:

    Places are always vibrant with life and one knows instinctively whether we take to a place or not.
    The place is Tiruvarur, where a new Central Uni has come up. Along with my PhD, I handle some classes there.


    You always have nice words, don't you! I just love you for that. Your experience with places is quite similar to mine. Sometimes I can also feel whether the place is masculine or feminine!

  21. Polly:

    Sometimes I cannot stand a place even when I'm visiting. Roots is another topic! Places are strange: it always speaks to you.


    More than selfish interests, I think it is how the place allows us to feel comfortable. Sometimes we are forced to go to a place because we have no choice. And that is when we try hard and somehow survive and eventually grow used to it.
    You visits are always treasured, dear Shivani.

  22. Brian:

    I like the word 'textures.' Quite true about textures. One can feel it when one arrives!Places change us and I think one never leaves a place the way they came :)


    Poets, of course write from experience. Maybe the exaggeration of imagination is a fact but calling it a 'fake' is too harsh, I reckon.
    Places are never trivial. All of us have our share of experience from them.

  23. PB:

    I had to leave Bombay and I still harbour a sadness on account of that. True! Many things of a place contribute to the feeling of becoming comfortable.


    'Pre-arrival impression' is a lovely word! I just love your way with words, dearest Nevine. In the end, we are all social creatures who adapt well. We can also get used to things easily.
    Your words are much appreciated, dear Nevine.

  24. Smitha:

    I don't much travel. Just another ramble. You are lucky to fall in love with every place unlike me!


    Home it is!!!

  25. Myrna:

    Mood and instincts, if I may add to what you have said. Thanks for your kind words, dear Myrna.


    You always know how to succinctly translate thoughts into words and that is why I love reading your comments. "Impersonal passion" does not satisfy many and I am glad that it does satisfy you!

  26. Sukanya:

    Ireland remains a lovely passage in the book of memories for me. How I wish I could turn back those pages. People do matter, true.


    Welcome back. You always tend to get lost. Mind!! Hmmmm. Not always. The external also plays a definite role, I reckon.

  27. BB:

    All places have their own voices that either attract or repel.


    How glad I am to see you. And thanks for taking the time to come by and say "Hello." My thoughts are always with you.

  28. Joe:

    We all have our pet likings when it comes to specific places. Wonder what chotti chidiya thinks about places!


    Thanks for your kind words. very true, people contribute to a greater chunk of the place.

  29. Betty:

    Big cities are lovely. They have almost everything and one can get used to the rhythm quite easily. Hope the autumn's arrival is soothing your senses.
    Joy always.

  30. Came back to add to my previous comment..
    I'd love to live in a city with low crime rate, great schools, affordable housing, and plentiful jobs..
    But I know that is only an ideal place and there are always trade-offs in the real world.

    Have a great Susan! :)

    B xx

  31. I hate woods, forests... wherever there are more than five trees I feel uncomfortable... (in one of my previous lives I died in a wood fire, apart from being A. Christie- as you well know ...(LOL

    Cities I love especially if I can get on a train and get out of it to another town, a bit smaller, with parks... and I especially love valleys and towns by the sea where I can enjoy a good meal, and a better company...

    I think... it so much depends on your mood, on what is inside you at that moment... Any city or town or village can be hell or paradise, if that IS inside you beforehand...

    Hugs and JOY lovely SUSAN!

  32. Susan just linked ur post(this one) in my new post.i hope u don't mind.
    Whenever u can find time just chk it out...:)

  33. Dulce:

    Strange that you don't like trees! I am hearing this for the first time! You just said it: Mood ascertains everything! And instincts too!
    Have a lovely week, dear sweetest :)


    Honoured, indeed. Thanks for your kindness. I shall swing by and by to your place :)



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