This post is inspired by a poem of Surjit Pattar. The poem is about the affinity felt for the place of our formative years. A major part of my life was spent in Mohali. As a four year old in 1977, I could hardly understand the change we were heading for when we shifted from a rented accomodation in Sector 15, Chandigarh to our own house in Phase I, Mohali (Pin 160055). Mohali is the name of the village on the old Chandigarh-Ropar highway. Giani Zail Singh re-christened the suburb as Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, a name which is seldom used by anyone. In the initial years, our neighbourhood consisted of less than fifty independent houses and just a few HL and HM series Housing Board houses in Phase I. The area beyond Phase IV remained under cultivation at that time. Till as late as 1984, the population of the township was less than 50K.
There were few schools which itself were in their infantile stage. My elder siblings were admitted to one such school owing to the good marketing skills of its owner cum Principal. I also joined the same school some time later. Mohali was our Malgudi, well insulated from the rest of the world; the place had its own living space, own character and its own unique story; a story which will continue to remain dear to me. The feeling can be rather summed like this - "You can take a Mohali-ite out of Mohali, But you cannot take Mohali out of him."
The feeling of being a fish out of water gripped me when we relocated to Panchkula in 1993. My stay at Panchkula remained transistional as I left for the pre-commission training at Madras 16 (now called Chennai) shortly thereafter.
It was my earnest desire to return to Mohali, a wish which was granted to me recently.