” Paris is always a good idea.”– Audrey Hepburn
Ask anyone who has lived in Paris as a student or otherwise and they will tell you that Paris is a dream. I remember as a child I was so enamoured and obsessed with the idea of Paris, of visiting the city one day, absorbing the street styles and roaming around the tiny cobbled lanes, taking in the fresh baked aroma of croissants, just your basic Parisian morning with a cup of espresso.
I landed in Paris on the 18th of April from Istanbul. Within 5 days of my arrival I got attacked and robbed at the metro subway in the 18th arrondissement (district) in Paris, at the Porte de la Villette stop.
Needless to say, the dream that Paris was in my head completely shattered. I was alone, stranded in a new country, with no friends, no familiarity, no money, no passport and I was caught up in the middle of a language I had a hard time to comprehend while sitting in the police station complying with the FIR.
I hated Paris.
But, like most love stories that start on a negative note and ends up being an affair to remember, Paris ended up being the city that completed my transformation and transition into adulthood. That, I can say without a doubt.
I haven’t written much in the last few months because there were just too many things that was going on – apart from prioritising my MBA and finishing what I came here for and a constant evolution of personal space, there was a lot of thinking and observations that kept me occupied. And all in all, I can’t complain.
But, what I can assure now is that the journey to and fro has been made and I for one am more than thrilled that Paris happened. That it taught me lessons for life that would have been impossible to absorb if I hadn’t had the courage to stick out there, for better or worse.
I think at the end of the day, even relationships in our life weigh down to whether we choose to stay or leave. Whether we accept the opposite with the baggages and negativity or choose to stay in an arrangement only for the good times.
I remember having had such low times personally at the beginning, going through heaps of anxiety and stress, wanting to remain secluded and hating to socialise. I also recall how despite those nerve wrecking negativity and absolute bereavement over the loss of so much more than just money and passport but also self-confidence and enthusiasm, I tried to remember all the love and magic I had in my heart for Paris.
It took time, constant effort and a lot of energy to fight the demons, but at the end of it all – isn’t it what life comes down to? Isn’t the crux of every human relationship the ability to fight the good fight?
The way I saw it, I have shifted and settled in multiple cities and countries for as long as I can remember now. Maybe because of this, I personally form a bond with the spirit of a city that is more indispensable to me than anything else. And if the only relationship I am going to have in my life with the city doesn’t work out i will never be happy.
Three months after the robbery, I was standing at Pont Neuf, the bridge that is the heart of Paris on the river Seine. Watching as the sun set and the lights lit up, I asked myself for the last time – “Adhisa, do you love Paris, have you ever loved her?”
Stat came the answer – “Yes i do.”
You would want to remember that during the bad times the most.
That’s what every moment in our life is all about, really.
Written by Adhisa Ghosh