Allahabad .....My hometown....my birthplace....a small city of Eastern Uttar Pradesh where I had spent almost 24 years of my life. Most people in India & across the world know about this city for MahaKumbh festival. I would not dig deeper into the minutiae of the large scale internationally recognized festival held in Allahabad…Google already has enough information regarding it. Rather, I would traverse through my perception about this city.
A small religious city which basks in the glory of its numerous temples…some quite ancient & well known….some newly constructed…some huge and flaunts wealth of its devotees…while some just cropped up street side or rather encroaching the pavement almost overnight.
Another striking feature of this city is its affinity for the preparation of various administrative & civil exams viz. IAS, PCS exams. Various coaching centre of different shapes & sizes have mushroomed all over the city which in turn has given refuge to aspiring ‘red/blue beacon’ students from neighboring villages and smaller towns. This breed of students has taken that spider’s story too seriously who never gave up even after failing multiple times to climb the wall!! They stay in the city in rented rooms while fooling their family members back home with the rosy picture of their dreams of civil services jobs. When asked, they boisterously claim that they are doing ‘Tayyari’ ( preparation) and this can continue till the time they are not crossing the upper age limit for appearing in these exams. I know few person who were staying in my locality when I was a teenager and doing ‘Tayyari’ and are still doing that. Many of them have forged their date of birth so many times you can even spot a balding, way above thirty, gentlemen who still declare himself as ‘Tayyari’ student. In reality, they do nothing other than attending coaching classes & roaming like free bulls in local market places while hogging from various street vendors.
This city has a perfect laid-back attitude with bagful of vulnerable ego. People do not want to work and you can be looked upon as some alien from different planet if you expect customer service from any commercial point. Any kind of change and upliftment is least welcomed in this city. So, it still remains somehow same what it was a decade back. People have ample amount of free time here……I know few people who used to hang around near the local betel shop, chat endlessly while staring and stripping all female clan passing from that road with their creepy eyes when I was in school/college…i.e. almost more than a decade ago. Last time I visited Allahabad few days back, I found them still there. They have spent their whole life doing the same thing or rather nothing.
This city still judge you by the clothes you wear…and here I am not experimenting much but talking about how jeans/trousers worn girls are still looked down with raised brows.
I am not being a cribbing worm here but actually I feel bad when I see other smaller cities zipping past my hometown in development, infrastructure and other positive changes while it foolishly remains aloof from all the changes around it.