A Tale of One City – I
It seems to me that there is a lot of faux fur associated with the coat that is Chennai. This is especially true when that coat is worn by the fair lot residing above the Vindhyas, whose knowledge of my beloved city is in the same league as Dr. Abdul Kalam’s knowledge of Playboy magazine and Kim Kardashian’s idea of a successful marriage. Apparently, all Tamilians are dark- hey have you met our Chief Minister? Tamilians fear rotis more than Ganguly fears the short ball- not true, we have chappatis at home every alternate Wednesday. All South Indian women are smart*- indeed, gossip generally revolves around string theory and P vs NP. South Indians can’t pronounce Bhaiya properly to save their lives. Okay, maybe this one is true. Fortunately for my Northie readers, I have no intention of quelling such disturbances in the force and vindicating generations of wronged South Indians. Such heroic acts are best left to wriders of obun ludders from a neighbouring state. No, sir. Today I shall highlight one particularly Maddu** quirk that irks me to no end: the innate propensity to reach a place
well insanely ahead of time.
For reasons unknown, the word Tardy seems to associate the same feeling in Chennaites as do the words Arson, Murder and Rape. And maybe a little less fear than the letters T.R (T.Rajendar or Supreme being, for the uninitiated) do. The word tardy also rhymes with Jeff Hardy. Okay, I don’t know why I said that but coming back to the point, Tamilians have this affinity for reaching any place well before the well-before-designated time. Not only is it fashionable to arrive at the railway station a good three hours ahead of the train, it is also becoming to rub it in the large noses of the latecomers- yes, i’m referring to those who arrived two hours before the train. Of course, one does not dare to argue the rationale behind this exalted practice. After all, it makes more sense to arrive well in advance and brave a queue for the next few hours (because most people got there ahead of you) than to enjoy the same few hours in an air-conditioned room and make it on time.
I believe that most Chennaites have a skewed sense of time, especially when it comes to deadlines and appointments. When a normal man says, “Let’s meet up at 5PM, dude”, he means… you guessed it right, “Let’s meet up at 5PM, dude”. However when a Chennai uncle utters these very words, rest assured he wants you to be there by 4:30 or else his boot shall connect with your rear when you arrive at 5, or god forbid later. Perhaps we take this whole race against time business too personally. I imagine, the average Chennai guy believes himself to be this dude:
Meet Keanu Ramachandran in Speedu. (Pardon my poor photoshopping skills)
Lest I forget, there is also the god-awful habit of waking up before the poor Sun even gets a chance to peep in and say Hello. It’s very common to expect people in most families to rise, shine, (head)bathe, finish morning pooja, finish more pooja for brownie points, Coffee 1, peruse all Editorials in the Hindu, Coffee 2 and strongly criticize the deteriorating quality of the paper to the crows on the windowsill while the aforementioned normal guy hasn’t even got a chance to press snooze yet. This complete disregard for time may owe its existence to a variety of reasons. A Freud might blame it on the tendency of the typical Indian male to … finish everything quickly. Frank Miller might view the Chennai guy as “a dionysian figure, a force for anarchy that imposes an individual order”. Karunanidhi might attribute it to his non-existent hairline as might Rakhi Sawant to her assets. But as any automan in the city might tell you, “This is not madness. This is Madras da Kaidha (Donkey)”.
I find it strange that I miss this place more than anything now.
Please to note, just because I take a dig at the intellectual pursuits of the South Indian woman, it does not necessarily mean that every male down under is a Sheldon replica.
P.S: If you are a feminist, get the hell out of my blog.
**Short for Madrasi. Not as offensive though.