This one is for Ashok


I was thinking of writing what little I know about Madras. There have been two reasons for this. One is that I have come to realise what little stays in the mind of people spending a fleeting moment, which is so much different from what this city is. The second reason is that Ashok has embedded a link in his post on his days in IIT Madras. Today is his birthday too. Let me start, or so I will try.

Even before I start writing about Madras, I had spent a decent amount of time trying to figuratively describe the villages of my state, something which represents the lives of the people, their toils, their travails, something which they spend time with, something which is stoic and changeable, yet changing in tune with their fates. With this in mind, I saw a Tamil movie called ‘Veyil’, which means ‘The harsh rays of the sun’ (Madras is supposed to have three types of seasons- hot, hotter & hottest,…never mind it sounds like the soft porn programme on Southern Spice). The movie features a sequence where there are sequences of well tanned children in a rural setting, playing with tops, fighting with friends who supposedly cheated in the game, playing pranks with the sleeping old man, whistling at village lasses (when their moustaches started sprouting), breaking dried up soil flakes on vacant land, jumping against dry wind when everybody else is taking cover in their houses, so on and so forth.

This sequence is followed by the welcome showers, when the same children come out to welcome the rain. They dance in the rain as though the rain will wash their worries away and leave them fresh for another year of fun. The dance as though the soil is their stage, the air is their partner and the rain is the music,…surrounding them and egging them to do the groove. Their smiles are as fresh as the rain itself. Mirth flows and happiness abounds.

I feel that this ‘Veyil’ is what sums up things in my place,…I have played, fought, whistled in equal measure. Don’t take cover in your sunscreens and cosmetics and curse Madras. You come to our place and curse the very essence of this place. This place is like that and ‘That’ is how we like it (except when it is >43C). 🙂


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