Submitted by alvin on Fri, 2016-06-03 17:59 When people say high school is tough, I believe it is true. At least for me those were three backbreaking years featuring a heavy dose of confusion and boo boos. I was living in the city, attending a very English-speaking, MTV watching school, when my family decided to relocate to my grandfather’s house in the village. I was not excited. I hated to leave my friends behind. But I think, more than anything else, I secretly hated leaving behind the niceties of city life. As anticipated, living in small town Kerala was not easy for a part Goth, part tomboy teenager who had just begun to explore life outside the house. When I first stepped foot in the new school, I was suspicious as I took in the brick roofed classroom, the tiny toilets with lights so dim that made the world look quite sepulchral and the children playing cricket with chappals and pebbles that doubled up as bats and balls. And when my English teacher began teaching in Malayalam, I knew I had landed in the hades. I was also a kooky spectacle on campus. With my cropped hair, boy shoes and a skirt that was too long for my legs, I looked like a walking pyramid that sprouted a head and feet. I think my sense of oddness started there. I was dubbed ‘the girl from the city’ and when my classmates saw me, they saw the mollycoddled kid from the city who threw extravagant birthday parties and went to the movies and had ice cream every weekend. But for me, a city meant something else. A city, for me, was the likes of New York or San Francisco. Thanks to the influence of cable TV, I wanted to drink milk straight out of a carton, take the subway, go to a drive-in theatre with a boy, wear tiny shorts and tank tops to school, have pepperoni pizzas slipped under the door and drink eggnog and watch the snow during Christmas. It was the idea of a city that America propagated through satellite television that had just begun in India. I lived in a make believe world where all these things were a possibility. I think I still live in a make believe world at times. Now that in India, I can drink milk out of a carton, have pepperoni pizzas and go to the drive-in with boys, I have forgotten to see the bigger picture. When I travel in an air conditioned car and go mall hopping, I forget to see the world that sleeps on the footpath and lives on the scrapes from pizza boxes. But I choose to live in a selfish world shaped for my selfish needs. I complain when the delivery boy takes more time than usual to bring home my dinner. I complain about the city’s rush-hour traffic. And I complain when my AC remote decides to go dead on me. I complain that I live in the city and secretly long to go back to the village. After all, for us humans, the grass is always greener on the other side.