Chennai: Never just a city

I’m that girl that crossed oceans to sustain myself. I live a few hours away but it’s been a while since I’ve been home.

I hear about a possible third wave. I read about carelessness. A city unmasked and unafraid. It scares me all the time – I have parents and in-laws that are old enough for me to be worried. Two dogs I haven’t cuddled my weekend away with in a really long time. A flight to Chennai is almost impossible. And that small chance of maybe? I can’t take it because it all sounds so scary from where I see.

But in the chaos of the news that feels like my worst nightmare, I miss a lot more than just loved ones.

I miss home.

I’ve been talking to my sister about it – What makes us so special? Us adults from Chennai. It’s this tie that we can’t break. In a foreign country, when everything seems different, “Chennai-ah?” is all the connection you need to be best friends.

I miss that home.

That feeling of stepping out of the flight and getting into my mom’s car. The ever-familiar road that leads you away from the airport, “Wow. So much has changed. Traffic alone doesn – epdi poraan paaru.”

You know you’re home when travel is a musical experience – radio or roadside dialogue, to each their own.

The incredible food. Gangotree pani puri, Saravana Bhavan ghee dosa, Ratna Cafe sambar idli, New Woodlands full meals. I’ve never visited without a list. I’ve never left unsatisfied. Street corner akka or Shree Mithai aunty, I miss the friendly banter with total strangers. The extra mile they always go to ensure you enjoy your meal. I often wonder how the aunty and uncle with the delicious channa samosa stall opposite SIET are doing. I wonder if they had enough saved for a rainy day – or year. The bajji akka outside Giri Traders in Mylapore. The chikoo seller outside Ratna Stores in Pondy Bazaar. So many more like them.

The helpers who walk to multiple houses. The tiny arguments our moms always have with them. “Paavam-di ava,” is how the day ends. Have they remained employed? Do you still pay them through the lockdown? There’s so much uncertainty from where I see things.

But one thing remains.

This feeling. If you’re from Chennai, you know what I mean. This particular emotion that makes you play cheesy Madras songs on a cozy Sunday evening. You’re not sad, no. You’re wishful. Longing to be back in those streets. Amongst the colours, the energy, the people.

Unmasked, maybe, but unafraid we are. The news terrifies me, I won’t lie. But I’m hopeful. I’ve seen the Chennai I can’t stop thinking of. The one that saw trouble and didn’t wait for help. The Chennai that wasn’t afraid of flooding water, rising waves or an Earth that shook. The Chennai that rose to the challenge, together. The Chennai that risked themselves to save their neighbours. The Chennai that is proud, brave and resilient.

The Chennai my husband is tired of hearing stories about.

A Chennai we won’t get to be in until – for a change – we distance ourselves and stay indoors.

A Chennai I miss, every day of my life.

I’m that girl that crossed oceans to sustain myself. Years may pass, lives may change and roots may form, but Chennai will always be home.

And the music, the movies and the million keepsakes I can’t throw away will keep me wrapped in warm memories, until I return…

Daily Prompt : Roy G. Biv | A Love Poem..

It was a different day,

She knew it when She got out of bed.

It felt like a day of love,

So She picked out a dress in RED.

 

The trees looked brighter,

The flowers in a beautiful rage

The old woman, smiling,

handed out a free ORANGE.

 

The reason, She soon found out –

He was a fine fellow.

Tall, handsome and beaming

His shirt a musky YELLOW.

 

The girls around him blushed.

She couldn’t help but grin.

For, it might have been his presence

That made the leaves so GREEN.

 

She knew he’ll make her laugh,

She knew, to her fears, he’d coo,

She knew with him in her life,

There’d never be a day that’s BLUE.

 

She felt like this was it.

She had her ducks in a row.

His dimples melted her heart

His eyes a beautiful INDIGO.

 

As he walked towards her,

She knew she’d never forget

The incredible man in a yellow shirt

Holding a single VIOLET.

 

That day was a real life fairytale

One that was meant to be told

They held hands and he knew,

He’d found the pot of gold at the end of a RAINBOW..

Daily Prompt : Happy Happy Joy Joy | Well…

This was a good Daily Prompt topic. What does “happiness” look like to me..? Hmmm…

Happiness is..

The giggling child in a theme park..

The smiling man walking in rain..

The long walk along Santorini Island, Greece, by myself..

The groom’s face when the bride walks in..

The bride’s face when the groom says “I do”..

The mother’s face as she holds her baby for the first time..

The father’s face as he registers “I have a baby”and makes up his mind “I’m going to take care of her/him”..

The couple’s emotions when they hear they’ve been approved for adoption..

The student who worked so hard for four years and graduated top of his class..

The girl’s face as she walks home after an incredible first date..

The teenager who loves going “home” to his/her family..

The couple that just said “I love you”

The old man walking along the streets that used to look so different in his young days and smiling at the memories that happened there..

The kid that learnt to ride the bicycle by himself..

The parents who watch their little one live his/her dream..

The feeling of content when you are surrounded by your loved ones..

Happiness doesn’t always look like a fancy bayside condo or villa.. It doesn’t always look like a brand-new top of the line Porsche.. Happiness is waking up and realizing just how beautiful this complicated life is.. Happiness is in the smallest of things and moments.. Happiness is all around you.. You just need to look closer.. 🙂

Daily Prompt: I Was Here | Dear Human

I am the first astronaut to arrive on a new, uncharted planet and I get to leave a note to those who come after me.. There are a lot of ways I could go about this.. But this is possibly what I’d write..
Daily Post brings out the creepy side in me..

 

Dear human,
The last one didn’t make it. What makes you think you will?
Good luck making it home..!
Forever looking at you,
You-know-who-darling

If only I could also leave a camera there to record their faces as they read it..

Daily Prompt : Five Items.. A HELP SIGN ?

Five items I would need with me if I’m stranded on a deserted island. I’m starting to really like Daily Prompt‘s writing topics.

Well, I’d like to say phone and computer and tv and social media.. but let me be realistic.. I’m sure I’d lose interest and possibly, battery charge. Besides, I highly doubt I’d get good network there..

So here’s what I’d want :

A sketchbook and some artist supplies

A writing pad and a pen

A few lighters – I have no interest in rubbing stones together hoping I can create fire..

A recipe book

And a few months’ supply of curry powders

Just to add one more,

A BIG NEON HELP SIGN TO PUT OUT HOPING SOMEONE WOULD GET ME OUT OF THERE !

Daily Prompt : Tattoo …. Me?

Funny how just this afternoon I was writing/ drawing fake tattoos with a black pen and hey ! Daily Prompt decides to pick my brain..

I don’t have a tattoo yet..

But I want to get a small infinity sign on the inner side of my left ankle .. maybe like a 2cm x 2cm in size..

And my dream tattoo would be on the side of my ribcage..

Something similar to this :

Image

But with the words :

Thou shall not live

Should thou not believe in

Fairytales

Because..  .. ..well, it never hurts to believe in a little luck, a little romance, a little love and a lot of magic.. does it?

(Pic Courtesy : Google)

Daily Prompt : Fear Factor | Scary Movie Ghosts

I always scroll through the different topics that Daily Prompt puts up, but today, this topic caught my attention.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/prompt-fear-factor/

I feel like a child as I say this, but my biggest fear – Movie Ghosts. Not the kind that comes covered in a white cloth from head to toe like in Caspar. Definitely not. But pretty much everything else.

Mummy Returns (Or was it just Mummy?) with the cockroaches that came out of his mouth? I think I was about 8 or 9 when I saw that movie and I refused to take the elevator in fear that I would be trapped with no escape incase those cockroaches came out of no where.

Ring was my first scary movie ever ! For a very long time I could always imagine this innocent girl at the right bottom end of my bed with no desire to hurt me but always had a longing look on her face. Almost as if I had something she didn’t. Something she wished she had. As I grew into my teens, I got over it for a while.

Then came Paranormal Activity. “The fear is always of the unknown,” my father used to say. It did not help my case that not only did the movie not have a face for the ghost, but it sat at the bottom right corner of the bed like the ghost I’d imagined did.

Grudge (2, I think) had a scene where there were eyes in the walls. That night somehow I slept really well. I was surprised how I wasn’t scared anymore. Until a few days later, I was awake real late at night and I stared right into the glass bookshelf in my room and the edge of a shiny hard cover book shone from the moonlight and thought they were eyes staring at me and screamed.

I should know better by now, but I still cannot turn off the lights if my blankets aren’t covering my face. I cannot sleep in silence because even the smallest noises scare me.

Yet, I love scaring myself. I watch a lot of scary movies, but I still keep away from movies like The Conjuring. I cried with fear after I watched the trailer for that movie and somehow I still went on Google and searched for the real story. The real doll. I guess this is my way of hoping at some point I’ll snap out of it. That if I know the true story and I know that the doll or whatever ghost is locked up somewhere safe, I don’t have to be scared anymore. That maybe I’ll stop the loud music to kill the silence, rip the thick blanket away from my face and look at the dark without fearing that something might just pop up and say “Hello !”
And maybe with time, I will…

..who knows ?! 🙂