Monday, December 24, 2007

Two weeks in Chennai

When I first decided to come to Chennai for a winter project, the thought did cross my mind that I'd get a few good blog posts out of it. But well, the two weeks end today and I'm yet to post about watching Bharathnatyam performances or eating at Saravana Bhavan.
Its been a wonderful two weeks, the kind of holiday everyone should have. I must admit, I was very reluctant to come to Chennai because the last time I was here for any long period of time, I fell very sick. But then I decided to give the city another chance, and boy, did it redeem itself.
Where else can even security guards spell my name perfectly? Where else do women dress up in Kanjeevaram silk and diamonds to attend a music concert? Where else do people speak exactly the same language (Tamil) but with so many accents as to be quite unintelligible to each other?

Its been two weeks of moments snuck away from work to attend concerts, of reading Kutcheribuzz everyday and sighing over the wonderful performances I'm missing, days and nights spent in an acid green lab poring over code, two weeks where the weather gravitated from school-closing-level floods to thirty degrees in the shade, of learning that "Parrottas" are very different from "Paranthas" and that people find my ignorance on this point laughable, of stopping my scooter whenever I saw a deer in the IITM campus and wondering at the innocence of their eyes, of teaching Sanskrit to my little cousin and discovering how much Geography I've forgotten, and of meeting wonderful new people who know so much and work so hard, they both shame and inspire me.
This post is perhaps too brief to give anyone a true idea of the impression Chennai left on me. I leave for home tonight, once I'm there I promise to write much more. There are so many tales to tell, freezing in the Central leather institute, traveling on a bus where the conductor refused to let me buy a ticket, a dance performance that gave me goose pimples, the caterer in the Staff Canteen who spoke French, and so much more.
But in the meantime, Merry Christmas everyone!!


In Scrubs there is an episode called 'My Drama Queen'. Watching it recently made me think, aren't we all, men and women, drama queens to some extent? I have two friends, very deeply in love. They constantly bicker and I've often wondered at it. Now I realize its because they enjoy the spice a bang-up quarrel lends to daily life.
We all have a love for the sensational. Some of us love it so much that it leads us to be impractical. My love for the melodramatic doesn't always manifest itself in visible form, but there's a lot of stuff going on in my head. For example, when I'm waiting to cross a busy street, my mind can jump from what would happen if someone was run down by a car, to how I would ride with that person in an auto to the nearest hospital, to frantically trying to remember all the first aid I know, all before the traffic light changes.
Sometimes, I wonder. The stuff that goes on in my head is so interesting, I don't think I notice too much of the real world. I guess I'd better start paying more attention when I cross the street.

No fun, no games

What’s the point of life
If risk is just a board game
You roll the dice
But you’re just hoping that the rules change

Hugh Grant -Dance with me tonight

What if life itself is just like a board game? I find the idea infinitely depressing. Even if you take your biggest life changing decisions based upon the rolling of a die, you're eternally doomed to go round and round and round in endless circles about the same board. Then when you're finally tired of it, you fold the board and everything you've ever achieved- money, property, titles, family... slithers to the floor in a heap of cheap plastic.