My childhood and most of my teenage years were spent in the lap of the breathtaking lower Himalayas. I was born in the north Indian town of Nainital. A town perched snugly at 1938m above sea level. The emerald evergreens and the cottony clouds have soothed my soul to the farthest point of my memory lane. I have been a deep thinker, and the balmy sunrays of my town have only helped me go deeper into my world of thoughts. Then, after seventeen years of living like an Alice in this Wonderland, I felt jolted when I moved to Delhi for my undergraduate studies.

Now I am not joking when I say that I started making use of my five senses only after I entered the bustling city of Delhi. Wait, but that also happened after a year of suffering. In my head, I was sleeping in a cool cocoon on a pine tree (clearly, only in my head) when a heavy wind blew it down the hills into the scorching plains and when I woke up, voila! Delhi it was! Phew! I still despise reminiscing about those choking feelings when the train would pull slowly into the New Delhi railway station, literally after every vacation. It never went away, this feeling of transformation that I had to don. Like skipping the caterpillar phase and jumping straight to becoming a fluttering butterfly!

Flutter, flutter birdie, home is far…squish or squeeze…get rid of that ease.

After a year had passed, I developed an extra head for use in Delhi, while the small-towner head hibernated till the next vacation.

It has been nine full years since I left Delhi. So when I finally chopped off my Delhi-head, out came the spaghetti of my thoughts. I untangled each strand and finally looked at the sorted dish on my palette. What did I find?

Well, a little bit of me in each piece coated with silliness, stupidity, innocence, and sprinkled with a lot of chili flakes and cheese toppings (forgive me on this, Delhi-food is gorgeous! And cheese toppings go with everything. Period.) So, I washed out whatever was not me and have since preserved the neat spaghetti (clearly again, only in my head). And here goes a brief conclusion of this exercise.

I am, have been, and forever shall remain a small towner. Each one of us is born with some uniqueness of this sort that can never be replaced. For me, it is the snug feeling of my hometown—not just of the dreamy landforms but also of the sweet town people. There is no escaping it at all. It has stayed and has grown like a wild, hilly twine on me. And I love to carry it on me! I am still naive, silly, and stupid, but I have a solid mountain heart! AND, I have a permanent tattoo on my left wrist, and guess what it is? Three tiny hills.

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