Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Tamilzha.. Tamilzha? (P)unintended.

I think I understand why the world finds it so hard to like us poor Tamilians. I mean, seriously, it cannot get worse than it already is. Its bad enough a few sorry ones like me (by sorry here I mean belonging to the strata of Tamils who can barely manage to read and write the language even though we've studied it throughout school) still manage to pull through .For instance, I still don't know how you say 'ninety' or 'nine hundred' or 'nine thousand'. Worse, I go to Madras after ten months in the UK and figure that my blessed state has taken Tamil loyalism to a whole new level - even phone card instructions read in Tamil. Jesus. Trust me, even the woman who sold me the sim card took about half an hour to figure out what the hell the instructions read.

How Paavam.That's a problem in trying to get to understand Tamil culture.People don't realize that it isn't really that we wouldn't like to be friends with everyone and talk other languages (We are really a nice bunch, you know), its simply that we like what we've got and don't expect anything more. Really. Have you noticed that we show no signs of getting bored with ourselves.Look at us: when has Sun TV ever run out of old soap operas, or Kumutham stopped telling you who that actress slept with and this director married the third time? When has Sun music run out of callers asking for the repeat of the same hit song or Spencer Plaza showed signs of being empty? We even watch the same comedy scenes and know the dialogues of every sorry Tamil film we've watched in a lifetime. And that's just it, we don't miss anything.We don't get tired of our Idly and Sambhar diet, we don't get tired of the constant everyday bickering with autodrivers considering we are the only state that still does not follow a meter system, we still have open manholes all over the city, we still go religiously to Sathyam cinemas and whistle. And that's just it. Our lives are just about enough. There are no great Tamil dreams, we know our politicians are a bunch of boneheads who are both ugly and money-minded. We even know that people will still vote for them just because of the free rice and free television sets.

Sigh. I sit back and watch my friends bickering and boo-ing down Tamil mentality and blah-blahing about the state of affairs in the future if we do not make friends with our malloo and gulti neighbours. The thing people don't get is being Tamil has nothing to do with being friends with anyone. If you are in Tamilnadu, for instance, I don't think you can ever really be anything but a Tamil. You could be half-Irish,point five percent punjabi, three fourths a Zebra and still you get to only feel Tamil and nothing else. Pathetic and awesome at the same time, right? that is exactly how banal the average person's lifestyle is.

This time I went to Madras, for all the cribbing I've made my friends from Bangalore endure, I don't think I wanted to step out of home. It just felt good- That soddy life, the humdrum of Mount road, the evening traffic, the dirty streets, uninteresting Spencer Plaza, and the fragrance of fresh Bru early in the mornings. I don't really know which part of me I'd call 'Tamil', but I sure as hell know that part of me totally, totally is.

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