I remember being to Madurai for a family friend’s wedding when I was five years old. I have very fond memories of that trip. My great grany (pootti kamma) during her story telling sessions told us that I can see singam, puli and yaanai (lion, tiger and elephant) and aaru, kolam (rivers and ponds) on my way and that made me extremely excited about the train journey. We got down at the station in the morning and I was looking at the TV (they were playing the trailer of a movie called ‘Nanbargal’. Remember that movie?) and got lost in the crowd. But it wasn’t for a long time and I immediately got hold of my people.
There were four kids including me and we found something absolutely exciting in the hotel where we stayed: lift. We didn’t have the guts to go inside alone, but it was super fun to press the switch and wait to see the lift coming up. I remember walking barefoot to visit the famous temple of Madurai and the pictures of the large, green colour pond, a golden miniature temple and music coming from a stone are still afresh in my mind.
After that, I never got a chance to visit or hear about Madurai except for getting a glimpse of the station on our way to Tirunelveli or about the Sangams in my Tamil classes.
Now. Why am I telling all this? It is because the Madurai effect that I had during my BIM days which still continues when I see some movies. There, almost everyone had that ‘vandhuttaingya, poittanggya’ way of talking which spread like an epidemic. My closest friend is from Madurai and she is the perfect blend of all the characters that one would associate with the city. She is beautiful, homely (pretty much like the one who comes in Subramaniapuram, looks- wise), mallippoo-saree loving, affectionate, caring, helpful and… dangerous. One can easily hear her use words like ‘aruvaa, vettu, kuthu, saatthiipuduven, mandailayae poduven’. This kept many guys at a safe distance from her despite her stunning beauty. I loved her Madurai slang and it made me feel a little comfortable as it is somewhat similar to ours (T’veli). And I liked it even more since Tamil is not her mother tongue. She belongs a community that came down to Tamil Nadu during a generations back. Her ancestors were weavers for Tipu Sultan. Yes, as you might have guessed it right, her mother tongue is Kannada.
We both shared a lot in common. Though we belong to different faiths, our strong belief in the existence of one God united us the most. She is a lot conservative (no wonder, she is!) which again goes well with my idealogies. There is a lot that I can keep talking about her but this space won’t be enough. Coming back to the title, one would notice a lot of Tamil films that are made in and around the city. If I’m right, it all started with Kadhal and continues till Subramaniapuram. I haven’t watched the movie though I really want to, except for one song which is played in the TV so often.
Now I feel how true a statement that ‘every city has a character’ holds true. I have hardly been to that city and what I feel is the effect of what I saw and heard about it. My friend keeps telling that Madurai is a junction among surrounding villages and it is more of a village than a city. She explains how crude the people are and how certain things are valued above anything else.
I wish I could visit that city sometime, and spend time like how I did in Trichy to get the taste of life there. I atleast want to see that movie with my friend Mrs. G. But thats too much to crave for now, since she sits in another corner of the world…And dreaming of going out with friends is passe. Though I have no difficulty in accepting the reality, but I can’t stop whining for a while.