It is a city. It is an emotion. It is a collection of villages. It is a separate nation. What and all random ways to describe it no? What the hell is this city?
This city makes me angry. The timepass digging along the road. The water stagnating because of the digging. The traffic stagnating because of the water. Vehicles are not at all moving and my patience is vanishing like my grandmother’s front teeth. It drives me crazy and so I try to get off the vehicle to shout at someone to vent my anger and then traffic starts moving. Bloody city doesn’t even allow me to get angry properly.
Typical Madras behaviour. It’s there, but not too much. Just like all the other things. Like, the display of wealth. The city lets the rich fellows flaunt their wealth. But never lets it get vulgar. Modesty is in its DNA.
This city makes me argumentative. I want to argue with the autorickshaw driver who doesn’t want to turn that meter on. Does he not know the rules of the game have changed? I want to argue with the newspaper boy who delivers newspaper late just on ONE day. Does he not know that the day doesn’t start until I read it? I want to get into an argument with a Brian Lara fan. With a Kamal Haasan fanboy. With a Times of India reader.
This city makes me hate it. Not in a hateful way. But like how its mothers hate their children when they miss out on centum in maths exams by two marks. Why is there no perfection? It is possible, is it not? And it behaves like a kid that refuses to acknowledge that it has grown up. Why else will it still call its suburbs villages? Does it not see the cars parked on the streets because uncles, when they bought the apartments, never imagined they’d buy cars one day? And yet look! How they have grown!
This city makes me conservative. It tells me to have fun, but “within limits”. It reminds me of home the moment it strikes 9 in the night because I must call and tell them that I’m eating outside and don’t need dinner. I can lose myself in a party. But only until midnight. After which I have to head home. Always.
This city tempts me with its humble but powerful invisible force. Like the one coming from a plate of hot sambar vadai sprinkled with little onion pieces and topped with ghee.
This city makes me ask. It has everything I need but it’s all secretly stashed away out of sight. Like how a mother hides the biscuits from the child. It gives only if it feels like rewarding me.
This city doesn’t care how much money I have. It’s more interested in what I read. What sport do I follow. (Never mind if I don’t play one.) It is interested in my opinion. Can I engage in an intellectual discussion with it? In the comments section of a blog post? How about on Twitter?
This city makes me belong.
It doesn’t care about my appearance. It makes me feel completely comfortable in uncoordinated checked blue shirt and brown pants. It pretends like it matters where I come from. But it really doesn’t care. It doesn’t force me to speak its language. Instead, it will speak my language willingly. ‘Kaise ho mera dost?’ ‘Yemi babu?’ ‘Entha chetta?’
This city has got nothing special. Nothing makes it special.
But this city is home. Like any city that is home, this city makes me…normal.
This city makes me.