I'm from a small town. A small town called Dehradun which also happens to be the capital of Uttarakhand.
It used to be a quaint, sleepy hub of nostalgia, my Dehradun. Before it was made the capital, that is. With the honour of becoming a state capital, came mindless and relentless construction in the name of progress, and the first casualty was my hometown's innocence.
Thankfully, my memories of Dehradun belong to a pre-commercialized era.
Which is why it's never just Dehradun.
It's my Dehradun.
Right after finishing my schooling, I came to Delhi to further my horizons. Graduation, post-graduation and a job happened in quick succession and before I knew it, from a small town boy, I'd become a Dilli ka launda.
I had to tailor my lifestyle in accordance with the lightning fast pace of a metropolitan city. I needed to alter a part of my identity in the process as well.
I missed my family. I missed my friends. I missed my regular hang-out hubs in Dehradun.
But above all, I missed my people.
People who weren't prisoners of their own status symbols.
The first thing I realised after coming to Delhi was how disconnected people here were. They knew each other not by their faces, but by the number plates of their cars.
For the first time in my life, I saw people making an effort.
To avoid each other.
Not saying people in Dehradun were intrusive but back home, people knew each other. If you fell sick, you'd get a knock on your door by a concerned neighbour with some food.
Even after stepping out of the house, you never felt as if you'd left home. Simply because the entire city seemed familiar.
Like an extension of your family.
As a small town kid, there were instances when initially, I was measured on a yardstick of stereotypes. Stuff like "Tumhare yahan McDonald's hai?" and "For a guy from a small town, you dress really well".
I knew the racial profiling of sorts wasn't done intentionally. It was simply an attitude. A general perception most big city people harbour since the day they're born.
Which is what sets the small town people apart.
To be honest, I guess people in big cities are simply a consequence of their environment.
The small towns might be small, but the hearts surely are big.