Ode to the land I love..
Very poetic, huh? When I think of how the western world seems to hold so much charm for the average Indian, it irritates me. What do they see in it anyway??
I love travelling and visiting new places but to live anywhere but in Chennai would be impossible for me. What would I do without the bustle of a bazaar, gully cricket, sand-garnished beach sundal and 10 rupees movie tickets? Where would one find the easy familiarity that allows one to drop in without a prior phone call? Forget me, how would children learn to be children in the antiseptic world abroad? Some of my best memories as a kid are building rivers in the mud outside my house and sailing paper boats in the pouring rain, leaping terrace to terrace while playing police and robber and arriving home at the end of the day with dirty clothes and a cut lip acquired after fighting on the road with boys. Can’t imagine doing any of it outside India. Would be hard-pressed to even find the mud to play in…
Where else in the world would u find the riot of colours one sees in a marriage celebration or at a temple festival? Where else the variety of languages, religions, food, culture? Maamis strolling to the temple sharing the latest gossip, someone breaking a pumpkin outside their shop to ward off the evil eye, a tender coconut seller deftly wielding his aruvaal, a lone painter high on his scaffolding, lettering a billboard, women, their hair wrapped in towels, putting kolams on their thresholds, rowers practising for the next regatta on the dirty adyar river, the guy with the pushcart selling plastic saamaan….I'd go crazy without it all. I love every nook and corner; every by-lane with its array of pavement shops, every tiny hotel serving fantastic food (well, diahorrea is a possibility but not for someone like me who has a cast iron stomach… heh heh...), the marina, the lights, sounds and colour!
As Kim says in Rudyard Kipling’s famous novel- this is a great and beautiful land, this land of Hind… and Chennai is the fairest of 'em cities!! I don’t say Chennai is perfect; far from it, there are a million things I’d love to see changed, but I wouldn’t exchange Chennai for all the convenience and modernity that the west has to offer.. No way!