Life in Chennai was a relay race, you run from one point to the other, a constant and never ending search for a permanent comfort zone. But the reality of the city lies in its temporariness. A stranger becomes closest to you heart today and the next day he walks out as a stranger again. People come walking in and we celebrate their entries and plan a lifelong package of hopes, fulfillment and commitments. It is later that you realize the truth that what makes the city a strange place is its temporariness and the immense opportunities it gives us to move on the next day no matter how bad things turned up. It trains you to tolerate the intolerable, hate the lovable and most importantly it teaches us to survive this strangely funny thing called life.
Suddenly thrown into a pool of unknown things and people, stuck in the daily hustle bustle, I was confident enough to create a space of my own. First it was the language and then the people. A very normal and ordinary wish which sounds simple but later you discover how disappointing and disheartening that wish is. Even now I am not able to understand many people, may be I didn’t try to or they didn’t allow me to. I soon knew that we live in a temporary shell that we are going to lose the next day.I have no intention to name the characters in my life, because there are so many. I fiercely loved some, I ignored some, I hated some and there was this big crowd behind me that did not exist for me. I can cut my phases in Chennai in to various cross sections, and all of them have the same story to narrate. So the names of my characters are not important.
The city though had changed my perceptions, the way I saw this world. It really made me humbled. People here are not the show off kind. Language was a problem and many times your action song skills rescue you. But again the people were very helpful some times.Sun, Sand, and a Sunday Morning Market all will make to think am I at the right place. There are no guilt, no regrets, no heart aches. No one weeps here alone in a room. You hit a party, get drunk and dance and yes that is the pain relief.
Where is my story here, where are my characters? Trust me by the time I finish this story, the characters in my life would be again the next set of new people. So what is the point in telling about them, they are long gone by the time I write this.When Mom calls me and asks whether I am okay, I don’t know what to say. I had stopped thinking about it long back. Am I okay??? I have equal reasons to be and not to be okay. But does that even matter? What is wrong in not being okay? This city the Detroit of India has made it a free option for me, the freedom to decide whether I am happy or not. Because once you claim here that you are happy, no one can say that your happiness is a lie. All you need to get is some really good pictures and upload on social networking sites. No I am not saying how silly things are, but how simple and easy the survival is. There is a shortcut to everything.
Fun is a very subjective concept here. It is the typical fun when in the beginning of the month, with a pocket newly refilled, we hangout in a luxurious place. But it is also an ecstatic feeling when in the end of the month you collect coins along with your room mates to buy a packet of maggi noodles. This can happen only in a city where it offers you extremes and yet have no shame or guilt about it.
When I talk to more and more people, I know how my experiences are not unique and not my own. I see people who had gone through the same things. So there is nothing that I own here, not even my individual experiences which are the results of my choices and preferences. Chennai makes everyone to make the same choices, nothing is unique here, everything is a phenomenon. It conditions you to make the same mistakes like anyone else.
As I have left the city now, I have no anxieties about the things and people I left behind. I have given them memories, they have given me memories of a lifetime. They have attended to my smallest fears and insecurities. I have had my strongest and weakest moments, biggest leap and deepest fall, happiest moments and worst. And somewhere along some lane they might pause for a milli second to suspend their happening present just to remember how fiercely and unconditionally I admired them and my futile attempt to make it permanent.
Thank You Chennai!!!