Chennai Diaries. December 2012.
I’m all about change; I thrive on it. I’ve grown up all across the country, moving every two years, attending six different schools. This way of life has continued right into adulthood, which has seen me live in four countries and spend weeks and months at a time in eight others. It’s an adventure, and it certainly beats doing the-same-thing-every-other-day-for-the-rest-of-my-life.
Except at times like these, when you’re exhausted and have just gotten out of a sterile hospital, in a city that isn’t home, after spending a bed-ridden week recovering from a nasty disease.
And so, I’m going back to the city where I’ve spent ten long, albeit non-consecutive, years of my life: Chennai. Back to the ancient house where I’ve been 5, 15, and 21. The same old streets that I can walk blindfolded. The large playground overlooked by our house, which gets immensely crowded on the weekends. Cricket balls will fly into our compound, my dogs will bark, and my grandfather will yell at the teenagers. The same tiny ice cream parlour around the corner, the same ‘beauty parlour’ where I get my eyebrows to look somewhat presentable. The familiar smell of overripe mangoes in the summer. The same old routes for evening walks, in one of the many parks of Anna Nagar. Sathyam Cinemas, and the popcorn that always (thankfully) tastes the same. My usual bewilderment at the sight of people wearing sweaters in 25-degree ‘Chennai winters’. Same old rickety share-autos. Same old pubs, same old Ladies’ Nights.
The same old people, who have always been there.
Sometimes, ‘same old, same old’ is the best thing about life. I’ll be on the move soon enough, but sometimes, coming back to a place where time seems to have stood still is what restores my sanity.