September 29, 2005

The musings of a Tam Bram

“It is the beginning of a new life”, they said. “You are going to a place far off to do what you are destined for”, they added. Yeah right! If anyone in this world had no idea as to what his destiny was, it was me. For heaven’s sake, I did not even know as to what I want to do in life, let alone destiny.

Nevertheless, I packed all my clothes (not that I had many), my two pairs of shoes (hard to find any given that my shoe size is 12) and all the things that I thought I needed (again not much) in two suitcases. I finally landed up in Pune at my room (this was after a long arduous journey from Madurai to Chennai, from there to Mumbai and finally to Pune) feeling free to be free.

On the first day of school (have no idea as to why the management colleges are called schools: maybe because even children are spared what we are being put through) has two things that stand out. First - the enormity of what I had come into and second - my roommate, both for different reasons. Having come from a place that was situated far far away from the centre of the city (well it was 80kms away from the nearest city, and the city was more of a big village), to come to a place that is the in the hub of life is somewhat intimidating. Having never been away from home for more than few days (in spite of the fact that I was in a hostel), 1600kms to home was as far as the stars. Also for me, who needs rice thrice a day - breakfast, lunch and dinner, (here no one even knows that rice can be had as a staple meal!), to be able to have curd rice becomes a treat. Life never got so different. Imagine this – all you could have for any of the three meals a day were different forms of bread. Moreover, they came in all sizes, shapes, colors and prices. (I can reel off a few from my memory- pav, roti, naan, paratha, chapathi, bread, kulcha, etc.) Not to mention they had variants of each of these. You had from the buttered variety of each to the stuffed ones. Add to this that there is a generous helping of garam masala in every food item; I ended up killing my taste buds in the first week itself. While I am on the subject of food, people cooked rice as if there was a shortage of water in the area; sambar - something that they served dosa (d pronounced as in “dead”) with and rasam was plain tomato soup. God, I am sure that by the end of the two years I shall lose all the flesh that I have (that is not too difficult seeing that I have very little of it already).

Now on to my roommate. There are scores of others that deserve a mention when I talk about the people here. The girl that is more of a boy than all the guys put together, the girl that has the hardest kick ever (personal experience talking), the guy who thinks that he is a porcupine, the one that has to finish every argument no matter what, the list is endless. Nevertheless, my roommate is extra special because he is everything that I am not. Rather, he has everything – period. Just giving a list of things that he brought to the room shall fill another three pages. Six suitcases came in having 8-10 pairs of everything (and I mean everything!). We have enough stuff to open a small store. All that you will ever need in life from toothbrush to slippers are there and seven times over! On the other hand, here I am, all my worldly possessions taking two and half shelves of the total ten that we have. I have to say, none of the shelves that he uses ever complain of being underused.

For the next few lines, I shall cater to the men that are reading this. I can remember all the times that we gave a second look to a girl in college (this was because there were not many times that a girl got a first look let alone a second). Every man that got a chance to go to Bangalore (especially MG Road or Brigade Road) was blessed. We seem to have lived in the state of perpetual famine. However, here every waking second is a party for the eyes. It is so bad that I already have an eyestrain due to looking too much (this is in class, after class, outside class and everywhere; no respite at all). And the year is just getting started. I hate to think of the state that my eyes shall be when I finally pass out.

The concept of a fresher party was as alien to me as was the man from mars (the man from mars seemed more of a reality then). When I got there with my date (the first of my life and may be the second last; I shall be invited to go next year), the thought that struck me was that if only I could get the cloth merchants from Tirupur here. They would have made a bundle. There was more skin being shown around than on fTV. In some cases, I actually had to see if there were any clothes at all (my conclusion; they might as well be not wearing any - the purpose of the cloth was not satisfied). Another observation was that all the girls seemed to be tall. This was until you looked at their feet. Heels, if tread upon your leg, would go right through and out without you knowing what hit you.

Those nights that we went to sleep over the soothing voice of Illayaraja seem distant. The instruments do not make the music but trashcans, tables and chairs do (they even make Deva sound soft and mellow!). Please do not get me started on the dance. There is no use comparing with the grace and elegance of bharatnatyam to the epileptic movements of hands and legs flailing around. It was mind numbing! Lesser said the better!

Having come from a place that has three seasons in the year – hot, hotter and hottest, to see the amount of rain that falls makes me muse (rain, rain, go way, little Adi wants to play). This amount of rain shall not only satisfy the need for water back home this year but then shall take care of it for years to come. They never seem to stop. When I go to sleep, they are there as they are there when I get up. More omnipresent than god.

That was the other side. However, the people are broad minded (unlike home where the people are just broad). The politics that ruled is conspicuous by its absence. The people respect you for what you are and not for what you can do to them or for them. The girls are as much like the boys, in the sense that you get no sense of being with the other sex when you are with them. The best thing that I like is that there are no masks or facades. I am finally, what I am. I guess that I am out of the well now.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

well.. ur blog did make me laugh.. but then i agree with u on most of the things tht u hav mentioned.. i guess u will come to terms with these things soon.. n hope u dont start hating the ilayaraja music n bharatanatyam n fully clad gals;) back home...
Best of luck..

pushkala said...

mightily laughing dude