Saturday, April 3, 2010

Adieu Africa, good bye Johannesburg !

It's 12:53 AM of the 3rd of April, 2010 here, right now. It's cold tonight. There's light breeze. The building diagonally opposite to my home is illuminated just the way it was on 8th of October, 2009. The roads are empty too, just like they were back then. How am I feeling? I'm cold, feelingless and sad. Jo'burg feels like it's a part of me. These roads, these walls, the flowers, the air here, I've fallen in love with these. I was looking at the road right in front of Berkeley Square. It's wet and it looks good. No voices can be heard, except the ones in my home. The home is illuminated... nearly all the lights are on. It's so quiet outside. I went out on a drive tonight, but couldn't go far because the car was out of fuel. Money, battery, memory and now fuel too. Whenever something good is gonna happen, something finishes. But I felt good that I could see that well-lit area tonight. I want to go out on a long drive tonight. I'll probably get the car refueled and go on a drive. It's my last night in Jo'burg, so I should go. Don't know when I'll come back here. Maybe months, maybe years, and maybe even decades. Don't know. Am sad. I had some very good times here. It has changed me quite a lot. I'm remembering the days before I came here... so many times I went back to Ludhiana, to get the clearance certificate. There was excitement, there was eagerness. Tonight I'm calm and composed. I cried a few hours back. Bitterly. I'm done with my packing. My luggage is ~4 kg above 30 kg limit. Yesterday I was remembering some huge mistakes that I did in life. I have so many things still to do. I wanna do helicopter ride, I couldn't see Soweto. But I had some lovely time at Dullstroom, Drakensberg, Hazyview, Graskop and Cape Town. I have learnt a lot here. I'm already so sleepy. How am I gonna go on a drive, I wonder? Tomorrow at this time I'll be in the flight, somewhere over Africa. I still remember the first tourist place I visited - Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve - on 10th October last year. A smile comes to my face whenever I think about it. The roads were new, the place was new. I would feel so good looking at hills and mountains around.

Sorry for the break. It's 2:24 AM now. I'm just back from a drive along Jo'burg's skyline. There's a particular road on the way back from the airport, on the right side of which Jo'burg's beautiful skyline can be seen at night. I've been to O.R. Tambo airport at least 10 times now, and each time on the way back to home, I get speechless when I look at Jo'burg's skyline. I loved watching it today. We took a wrong turn, which lead us into Hillbrow, perhaps the most dangerous area of Jo'burg. We didn't have a GPS, and we reached very close to the Hillbrow Tower. I had gotten quite alert and scared as we went deeper into Hillbrow. There were a few guys on the road. Ultimately we managed to get out of the area. But I am happy because I've been gazing at the Hillbrow Tower for 6 months now, and today I got so close to it.

I'm sleepy again. But I don't wanna sleep.

I'm remembering the first flight which brought me to Jo'burg. I remember very clearly that as we were nearing Johannesburg, I could start seeing orange colored lights on the ground. We had guessed that this should be Johannesburg. That feeling of new and unknown was something I can probably never forget. I don't think I will ever get that feeling ever again, because Johannesburg was the first time I came to an all new world. I remember clearly how I was feeling while inside the taxi which took me to home. I was looking at shops all around me, and thinking that I'm in an all new world. It can't be described in words. It just can't be described. It can only be felt. And it's entrenched in me. Every time I think of it, I feel good. I still remember the first time I entered the home. The first time I was looking out of my room's window. It was so quiet that night. A few cars passed every few mintues. It was an all new world then.

Whenever I think of the word 'Johannesburg', I feel good. Don't know why. I feel so proud. So connected. I want to keep writing. But sooner or later I'll have to press the 'Publish Post' button. But I'm feeling good as I write this post. Soon I'll sleep for the last time at 302, Riviera Mansions. Shit. It's such a bad feeling. Really, am I sleeping here for the last time? Let me click a few photos which'll make me smile, later. Feels almost like my college days. Tomorrow night's sleep? In A340. The night after that? ATS Greens. Lot of movement. Where is peace?

I'll miss you, Johannesburg. A lot. Don't know why I'm in so much love.


  1. Arree bahut senti post hai Rishabh...i am kind of speechless...pata hai whenever i read any of ur post, tweet related to 'ur' Johannesburg or South Africa, it actually felt like living that moment... & i am sure anyone who reads it all will cherish it...u have given life to Johannesburg, South Africa with ur heartfelt words...So this country must also be feeling low on seeing u leave... :)

    par aisa karna tu 'Sony Empire' ka yahan headquarter bana lena...:)
    Arre... hero sab yahin hai...tu bhi, Johannesburg bhi...bas time thoda aage ho jaayega...

    teri ye post padh ke seriously andar kuch ho raha hai...Chal ab India pahunch ke ek SMILES...valli post likhna... :)

    Take Care...
    Have a Good Day!

  2. Rishab Singla, I liked what you wrote about Johannesburg. You are somewhere else in the world now and it pleases me to know that you will be speaking well of the city, and the country. I share the feeling of nostalgia. My twenty exciting years there will never be forgotten. That was when the Hillbrow Tower was new, when Hillbrow was the only place to be for twenty-four hour non-stop socialising, meeting friends, strolling the pavements, eating in the many restaurants, seeing the latest movies, and going home to the apartment in the early hours of the morning.
    After Joburg I lived in Cape Town for twenty years and enjoyed that, too, for but reasons of sea, mountains, and scenery, rather than action and vibrancy.
    The great pity is that Johannesburg and Hillbrow went downhill after 1994. It went the way of Africa, and I only hope that the rot can be arrested, and perhaps be reversed, as civilisation re-establishes itself.
    You ask about other places in Africa where there is a significant number of white people, but although I know the continent quite well I cannot think of one. South Africa lost a large number of them, who could afford to leave, or who were highly educated, but have given up on Africa because they correctly see its future as black African. The last significant white population was in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), but the majority left when it became obvious that the country was headed for ruin. They were right, as events have shown, and I can only hope that South Africa does not suffer the same fate, but I am not hopeful.

    Good luck to you. (Robin. 5th April, 2010)

  3. Haan yaar, heart was heavy that night. Ek bachhe ki tarah roads ko, gharon ko dekh raha tha. Jaise pehle kabhi na dekhen ho.

    India aa ke kafi acha laga hai. Mummy papa ko airport pe hug karke jitna acha laga, I can't explain.

    Ab jab bhi kahi Johannesburg ya South Africa ka mention sunta hu ya kahi read karta hu, ek smile si aa jati hai. Don't know if you can understand, I guess I can sum this up well with this beautiful sentence:

    "...there are names you can never hear spoken without that same old feelings returning..."

  4. Robin,

    It was a delight to see that a veteran of South Africa - who shares my feelings - stumbled upon my post. It felt good to read that someone else too loves Johannesburg. Appreciate your feelings for South Africa, and in particular for Hillbrow and Jo'burg.

    I wish and hope the same, that the cultural unrest in SA can be reversed, and that the next time I visit South Africa, it has become a safe place to live.

    Good luck to you, Robin.

  5. :)

    I do understand Rishabh...

    Nature (whom u met so closely in Jo'burg,SA)is an eternal balm...She's the most reliable companion...aur ek pyare se companion se dur hone par bahut dukh bi hota hai...aur uske baare mein sunkar,padhkar,dekhkar,milkar khushi bhi bahut hoti hai...It's so natural... :)

  6. Just realized that not mentioning Drakensberg would be a gross injustice to this beautiful place that gave me good time. Added.

  7. Update (1-May-10): Had forgotten to mention that the title of this post is inspired by this video on YouTube - Adieu supersonic, good bye Concorde !


  8. Jacob Zuma, the Guptas and the selling of South Africa