My mother, with her family, was settled in Chennai before she was married to a Bangalorean in the nineties. Just like any other immigrant in the city at that time, she had an education in Tamil medium and never got a chance to learn her mother tongue Kannada except for speaking in the household.
As a consequence of her getting educated in Tamil medium for more than two decades, her knowledge of Kannada wasn’t great. This was used against her, especially by my father, to make fun of time and again until she was hurt. All of this, expected to be taken lightly, didn’t seem funny at all to me. I sure have joined my cousins and my father to have a light moment now and then, but have taken it seriously more often.Most of the times, I have been pushed to the other end with my mom because I was born in Chennai too. It sure does sound ridiculous and it should, shouldn’t it?
Chennai is special to me in every sense of the word. I have had memories I cherish, moments I can’t forget and most importantly I feel good staying here. Away from the busy, monotonous schedule of school, I used to come here to spend quality time with my grandparents during every vacation I had. I haven’t seen much of the city, but it still strikes to me as a place close to heart. People here may seem rude at once, especially to accustomed Bangaloreans. But they are as gentle as tides at the Marina on a moonless night. Of course they are conservative, for it is what makes them different from people in other Metropolitan cities. In fact, this did help me indirectly! Since people here aren’t really spendthrifts, you can hardly see eateries around where people wait in queues to get their orders. Instead I got delicious homemade meals three times a day, which indeed tasted different from the ones back at home in Bangalore. I didn’t need reasons to come to Chennai, it followed a natural order like water flowing down the valley.
Numerous Sun rises at the Marina, Beach volleyball, the famous T Nagar visits, flying kites on the beach, Cricket on the Apartment terrace, watching the floodlights at Chepauk during a live match from the top of the overhead tank and what not !! Never has Chennai failed to make me happy. Of course summers at Chennai are terrible climate-wise. But that is what makes the sea breeze special, isn’t it?
I am pretty sure everyone has a place, like how I have Chennai, which has been a source of all cherished childhood memories and stays close to heart like the attachment to a plant you have sown and seen growing.
When all of this is floating around in my head, if someone cracks a joke with a regionalistic propaganda and finds it funny, I give a sarcastic smile hoping they’ll pull themselves up from being insensitive to people’s feelings.