I missed the Madras Day celebrations last week. I usually skip most of the celebrations (including the New Year’s) simply because I cannot stand crowds, but this one would have been fun.
I love the city and am ashamed to say that I know less about it than a day-old tourist here. Which could be the main reason I wanted to attend this one. Unfortunately, I was away from the city and got back now, which could also be used as an excuse for an inactive blog, but somehow, I don’t think that would stand scrutiny.
Falling in love with cities is like falling in love with a person (yes, cities can be people too), you first hunt around, staying at different towns and cities and experience the delights and variety you have, then you come to a city that looks completely harmless, something that is definitely not going to change your entire life. You start living in it, not noticing that your heart is beginning to get bound to certain areas, like that park near the office that you love to stroll in, the beaches and the sound of the waves crashing through, the temples with their architecture, sometimes, even the smell and taste of the city air, and you wake up one day to know you have embarked on a one-sided love affair with it.
For cities, like sirens, while casting a spell on you, remain impervious to the adulation poured on them, accepting them as their due. They are the quintessential belles sans merci, for they take and take and all they give you is the joy you have in giving everything to them. So we have the artistes who worship them, in the form of photographs, poetry,prose and movies.
And we have the nomads like me, who after moving from one place to the other finally finds somewhere she can call home. I remember reading Sir Walter Scott at the age of eleven and savouring a word from his writing – “Desdichado”. It rang a chord (or chime if you can call it that) and I loved the taste and feel of it – a bitter-sweet tang that bit at my tongue when I said it in my mind. Some words are like that, with magic more potent when listened to in our minds instead of saying them aloud (words like “Treacle Tart”) and I have never said the word aloud, for fear it will break the spell it has bound me with. And after having treasured that word so long, I have let it go, after finding a city that has bound me for life.