Monday, July 17, 2006

Will someone tell me...

I never had a great opinion of Chennai. I know I am inviting wrath and trouble while I say this but it is something I have evolved to accept. It has, most definitely, evolved from the time when I was this smug, clueless, north-bred 6 year old to whom anything south indian was a matter of disdain. It was rather uncool to be referred as a Madrasi at that point in time.

Of course, I grew out of the false airs rather soon. I have a huge cousin clan of about 30 of them of varied age groups and I did have a bunch of cousins of the nearest age group with whom I bonded rather well. They jeered at my accented and adulterated tamil, looked at me like I was from Pluto or something when I wore chappals at home or drank tea off china cups, but at the same time did the protective-brother-sister acts making me feel wanted. I did like coming here on vacations, braving through the agninakshatram and crowding with colorful plastic buckets around Metro water lorries which made rounds of the locality just once everyday, visiting the athais and perimas who never ceased to amaze me with their powerful vocal chords emanating carnatic tunes so effortlessly. Most of them are old enough to have great-grandchildren and they still can beat many a good singer of today. And akkas and annas and of course the December Music Festival which I grew to appreciate the most about the city.

Then the parents moved to Chennai for a while. And thats when I started to see the city with an objective mindset albeit the crass lingo, the sweltering mercury and the general "tamilness" which I was never accustomed to. :-)
And these were certain things I have relentlessly tried in vain to understand about the city.
  • Why do autorikshaw-walas take it upon themselves to get all abusive if we do not want to pay what they want us to?
  • Why do mosquitoes not go aestivating in this sweltering heat like they do in Delhi in the months of May and June? And why do goodknight and morteins have absolutely no effect on them?
  • And why does a small/large shower not seem to have any effect on the temperature? Doesn't it defy the basic science we learnt in school about water having cooling properties etc?
  • Why do womenfolk (and menfolk for that matter) haggle over an extra rupee that a vegetable vendor asks for a kilo of Kattirikai, crib on high cost of living for them to just be able to survive on vetta-kuzhambu and extra diluted more-saadam, but end up in Kerala Jewellers and RMKV splurging tens of thousands on pattu-podavais and thangam-necklace without once questioning the shopkeeper on his price scheme?
  • Why do they dress in expensive finery of thick zari sarees and kaasu-maalais but have humble or should I say discriminatory tendencies towards their heavily-cracked yellow feet which never gets to wear anything beyond a Bata Hawaai Chappal.
  • Why do they insist on donating money on abhishekams, archanais and temple building (like the city needs any more) while the same can be used to feed or educate a child or any deprived or build a hospital?
  • Why do the students only talk about engineering and medicine and getting "centums" in mathematics and science? And look down upon hindi as a derogatory form of education.
  • Why do they have temples in the middle of the roads ? Aren't there enough in the nooks and corners?
  • Why do the temple priests take it as their moral responsibility to educate why a married woman must wear flowers or bangles all the time? And also make it a point to say it aloud in front of rather conservative folks who in turn imagine goddess of the temple speaking through the man's vocal chords. In other words, why don't they mind their own f***ing business?
  • So I am an Iyer with a vaango-pongo accent? So, sue me! But pray tell, what is so contempt-inducing about it? I do not see you as a non-Iyer, non-bram or whatever, so what makes me hateful?

Answers anyone? Enlightenment awaits..:)

Friday, July 07, 2006

You're tagged, weirdo..!

Almost seems like I am back in these spaces after a lifetime. Things had gotten so busy that I hardly had any breather. Not even to read other blogs. Needless to say, I have a huge backlog to clear. Though things haven't changed too drastically as yet with respect to the busy-ness quotient, I will do my tiny bit of squawk in these spaces so that people (the regulars and irregulars who have come expectantly for a new post) have something new to see rather than the Omen I had put them through all these days..:-)
And what better way to break the ice by following a tag though that’s not quite the favorite thing to do.

So, the tag story goes this way. I have to be listing 5 weird things about myself and pass it to five others. It took me a while actually to congregate and classify some of the habits and actions as weird. Well, what does one do if everything about her is weird?..:-)

But I digress. Anyway, here goes:

- I can never remember telephone numbers, ATM Pins, birthdays, faces of the names, names of the faces et al. It’s more like I remember each of these individually. But when I go about putting them together to get a valid entity, I am lost. I have been butt of the jokes with friends and dear others on my memory leaks and lapses and life’s not gotten any better on this front. Also, I can mentally switch off if I do not want to be part of a conversation without the other person knowing. I am sometimes shocked at how effortlessly the mind goes off for a walk while the other person actually thinks I am listening to him/her. So I can definitely say for myself that I am never in boring company. :-)

- I am terrified of anything that is creepy-crawly. Of course, there are human varieties in this category. But I tend to stay away from the butterfly, moth, lizard, cockroach, bee varieties which leave their natural habitats and make an entry into the confines of my household and peace of mind subsequently. And the husband, being a naturalist, makes matters worse when he actually thinks its cool to do a course on Entomology from BNHS. Eww! But on the flipside, its good to have him around when the peace of mind needs restoration. He is pretty good at driving away the said intruders without actually murdering them (No! I am not so cruel to see them dead. I'd much like them back in their familiar territories) and I think its a super brave thing to do. :-)

- I sleep on my tummy. I have tried drifting to sleep in many postures in life. But the only posture that ensures instant slumber is the tummy one. While on sleep, I rarely dream and when I do, I never remember the events however vivid they might be. I can sometimes, vaguely recollect who I might have dreamt about and that’s about it. Rest is a dream. :-)

- I hate rains. Absolutely detest them and wish they go away and never ever come back. I am slightly tolerant to the first rain of the season wherever I am. But every subsequent occurrence is enough to get me into a swingy, tantrummy mood. Whoever associates romance to rains is someone I am awed by. I totally hate being drenched, splashed with muck and driving with the wipers on. So much that I hate my car getting wet too!

- I was born, and will die, a bournvita/milo person. I need my glass of hot chocolate milk every morning. In the absence of which I begin to develop withdrawal symptoms. I think I do know what it takes for the Rahul Mahajans and others of his tribe.

So there..!

Now that some of my weirdness is out for the folks to frown/dig upon, I'll leave the tag open to anyone in my bloglist. :-)