I wanted a dose of a new city. To flap my wings and stretch it and put a sort of litmus test to my existence. Ahmedabad happened and opened my eyes and intellect to the big good-bad world.
*A Whole New World plays in the background
But every once in a while there comes a point where I get saturated with my freedom, limitlessness and the fun and hard work of NID and I crave for a whiff of home.
And when I DO FINALLY get into an auto to head home, after the painfully stretchy last days at NID, the feeling is un-word-able! A sudden hyperactivity seeps through my veins and I begin looking forward to everything from that warm first hug from my sister to the undeniable Koovam.
* Sorgame Endraaalum plays in the background
Nothing can quite equal the first morsel of favourite food- mostly vethakozhambu and urlakazhangu roast- that you down with all the attention from the family.
The home-bound happiness is Part A of the joy of returning to the turf. The familiar sounds that lull you, the smells that waft from your kitchen that you can predict with a sniff("Amma... vendaikka roast pannariya?"), the clockwork precision of sleep-rise-sleep, the fights to shun the sob serials of Aththipookkal and Magal and other crap, the stolen moments of TLC that warm my heart, familiar niches where I curl up to read and write, windy walks in my terrace and the good old jolliness of the family become therapy to a home starved kid.
Part B cause of joy would be the public transport itself-Share autos and struggling for bum space and leg space, the heart-wrenching "anna" word you can use to call out to the bus driver before demanding a ticket to streetnames that roll of your tongue so easily and unconsiously(Thambiah reddy road, G.N.Chetty road, Pondy bazaar, Ranganathan street) and the train journeys- especially at dusk when you see tributaries of Koovam transforming into romantic silvery pools as your train whizzes past.
The C cause of joy are the favourite haunts in the city. The Kleios visit that is soon-to-be, Bessie beach that seems to be on the cards multiple times, good old crowded Station road, mad Deepavali obsessed T.Nagar, the stately majestic Sardar patel road, The Landmark tucked under Apex Plaza, Spencer's from the outside, Express Avenue that is enchanting me with a promise of Escape, Okkiyam lake that I might skip this time, Vivekanada Coffee for the brew that can never be matched anywhere, Khivraj automobiles as a reminder of a long ago's perfect day and dear old Gemini flyover for being the stable icon of my life. My list would be blasphemously incomplete if I ignore my very own(ahem! excuse me dear owner whoever-you-are) Satyam Cinemas and their tub of caramel popcorn and the visions of that lovely spice jars that they once had to flavour one's buttered popcorn.
The D cause of joy is just the smell of Tamil. There's really something to the language. When you hear snatches of street fights in a Chennai by-line, it simply fascinates me, whereas a similar incident in Ahmedabad wouldn't be even quarter so interesting. The language has a charm that is indescribable. The films that are made in Tamil have an essence that nothing ever seems to duplicate. A well made Tamil film or revisiting one of my old favourites is enough to keep me smiling from ear to ear in a way no other film can do. After all, this is the land which gave me the joy of watching Sam Anderson who can cheer me up anyday!
The E cause would be the calmness that the city seems to inject into my system. What do you have Chennai, in you, with you, that you seem to gift me every once I return? No matter how battered, how disturbed, how lonely I feel before I touch foot on your sand, you seem to erase it all and charm me into becoming your dutiful slave forever!
I am sure I will travel immensely and may end up working in some other distant city. But Chennai is and will be to me something that no other place can ever dream of being. My own, my precious dear home nest! :)