Places that Claim You


(I had started off this blog entry with the intention of writing about our shopping trips, but somehow I ended up writing about the first time we visited Noida after 4 years!)

There are a few places that absolutely claim me. These are places where the sweetest memories were made. One of these is Center Stage Mall in Noida. I think A and me practically lived there during our college years. At the time, the Great India Place was under construction, and it really was the heyday for CSM. Since A and I were in different universities, we used to bunk our colleges soooooo much to meet. We ended up getting letters at home about poor attendance!  (We laugh about it now, but I was in some trouble at that time!) .

CSM is one of the places that served as the backdrop to our love story, and I love it for that.  In some parallel universe that is running a few years behind, you’ll find A and I sipping coffee at the CSM Barista, having lunch at Pizza hut, escaping the heat in McDonalds, window shopping, watching movies at WAVE cinemas. You’ll find us in the Sector 18 market on cooler days, at the Dominos for the Cheese Bursts we love. There were hours and hours of mindless talks, of random observations, of shared secrets, of serious planning.

I absolutely craved marriage all through college and was obsessed with everything wedding related. I would take mental notes of anything I liked and made sure A heard my thoughts.


So imagine the immense happiness and satisfaction I felt walking back into that mall as a bride-to-be.  I felt like we had come full circle. Now, CSM is not as it was then. The onslaught of the giant malls has dwarfed it. I do enjoy shopping at GIP much more, but there is sweetness to CSM that can’t be matched. It is amazing how the smallest of things can trigger memories. Things that were forgotten come rushing back. We remembered how we would park the car far away from the mall because the parking was cheaper (we were both kids on pocket money after all!), how we loved the chicken rolls in the Sector 18 Market, the chocolate mousse at Barista, the blackforest cake at Nirula’s.  We remembered the times that A had to fight crowds at McD’s to get me ketchup, or ice cream. How A gave up having ketchup with pizza after I laughed at him at Pizza Hut.

That day, we walked in to the same familiar coolness, but some things had changed. Shops had closed, new ones had come up. There was a food court now. But the Barista was still there, the Pizza Hut was still there. I remember looking inside, as though looking for us.

We had lunch there at the food court, the whole time reminiscing, and making new memories.

This is something I had not expected – In my hurry to be the wife, I would miss being the girlfriend. Thankfully, today our chemistry is much stronger, but I would say that the biggest change is the availability of time. With no responsibilities, we would drive around wherever we wanted all day long. We could waste hours and days doing nothing except hanging out with each other. That is a luxury reserved for weekends now. I love the pace of our life, and the way we live it, but it is always sweet to look back to a simpler time.

13 thoughts on “Places that Claim You

  1. I am (was before marriage) from NOIDA so I can imagine how you would have felt after coming back here after 5 years.

    CSM has certainly changed and GIP has taken over its glory, but even today you can see young couples writing there own history in CSM! It will always be the first mall of NOIDA and will hold a special place for all that went there.

    • You’re from Noida? That’s good to know!
      And so true about CSM 🙂
      If I wrote about every place we hold dear, it will be pages and pages. So I stopped at CSM. I’ll probably bring it up here and there in the future though. And I’ll get back to blogging about wedding shopping now :p

      • I lived in Noida almost all my life (13 long years to be precise) before getting married and shifting to Delhi recently. And I am gonna be a Noida-ite at heart always! I still cross GIP and CSM, almost every 2 weeks when I visit my folks and get all nostalgic (even when I see the roadside vendor from whom I bought coconut water)! So I can’t even begin to imagine the euphoria and excitement you would have felt visiting the city after 4 long years, and with the role that it played in your transition from a college sweetheart to a wife! ❤

      • Thanks Aanchal! For understanding so well (ps- i had a set naariyal paani bhaiya too!)
        It truly is a wonderful feeling to go back in time, and recapture some memories. At the time when we were just hanging around the malls, we didn’t know what a significant time that actually was for our relationship… Its only now that we understand and cherish those moments. 🙂

  2. I can totally relate to this post, there are a few places in Kolkata..where we used to hang out. Bunking classes, switching off my phone, only to tell Ma later that bsnl network sucks( I felt guilty)…sigh! It’s a whole different feeling, when I visit the same places, with Him (now, that we are socially/officially together and I don’t have to makeup false stories anymore)

  3. This is such an emotional post, like all others, of course. 🙂 You always make emotions come alive, always. 🙂 And you mentioned that the bigger malls have dwarfed it, precisely the reason I never got around to visit this place with GIP right in front. I don’t go to Noida often, but I know friends who will definitely agree to your story about CSM. Since they are more work involved in Noida only, they have to find places in Noida to hang out & this acts as their little silent space. 🙂

    And “I would say that the biggest change is the availability of time. With no responsibilities, we would drive around wherever we wanted all day long”. God! :’) This job related responsibility part is going to start for me in few months and I am scared now. 😛

    • Thanks so much Srishty!
      You’re right about CSM these days.

      And don’t worry about moving on to the next phasbof life. Life after college has its own charms as you will find out. 🙂 God bless you always

      • Thank you so much! 🙂 Your words really cheered me up with positiveness! 😀 You write extremely well, I hope we always have posts on this blog! 🙂

  4. Loved the post. I feel similarly everytime I go anywhere around my school. Plus I also happen to be a sucker for nostalgic posts. 😀 Even if not remotely related to me. Sweet post.

  5. Being a NOIDA girl for the past 13 years CSM will always be special and GIP can take over coz obviously it offers much much more but can never take away the special place that the first mall of noida holds in all of our hearts!
    Could relate the post so much even though I haven’t had much of a love story there but have spent memorable times with school friends! 🙂

  6. I did my schooling in NOIDA and distinctly remember bunking school to chill at Mc. Donalds and Barista (sector 18 market). Then came this (then) huge thing- Center Stage Mall (CSM). And were we excited!!! We suddenly had a whole new place to chill at…so many shops and eateries…and so many memories. I remember shopping tons at Westside.

    Now that I visit CSM, it seems like it has lost its glory. GIP is the “it” place/mall. And I hear that a bigger (than GIP) mall is coming up right next to CSM. Miss the good old days!

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