Two and a half years ago if you were to ask me for a list of places I could see myself living in, Dehradun would not figure in it. I am ashamed to confess it, but I was not even very sure where it was, or how one gets there.
Two years ago, I packed my blanket, three mixing bowls, one kilo of coffee beans and the Complete Works of Shakespeare (Tudor edition) in an aluminium trunk and moved here.
The Uttarakhand I found is not necessarily any different from the official Uttarakhand. Or even the popularly accepted, accurate Uttarakhand. But it is not identical to these two either.
My Uttarakhand is a world with two centres, Dehradun (where Mian and I have our home and where I work) and Sitla (where Mian of works part of the year).
It has a geography of its own, where Rajpur is accorded more importance than Mussoorie,and home more than either. It is scattered with places where I work, play, and dream.
And above all, it is filled with people. I came here in Sep '08 with the southerner's distrust of the north. I was shown kindness with much grace, gallantly flirted with, and welcomed. I was educated, and then some more. Occasionally, I was forced to draw on my reserves of strength, but then the multiverse would send an elf to help me.
There are still times when I yearn for the coast and possibly, Mian and I will find ourselves sitting on a beach some day. But for now, Uttarakhand is home.