Brother dear, you’d beg to differ, but Chennai is an awful city.
We moved back to Chennai after five years in two other places, the first of which had been fun and enjoyable. The second one wasn’t too bad, either, and if it hadn’t been for my grandparents and the rest of the extended family, the move back to Chennai would have been seriously depressing. Well, more than it was, anyway.
I was twelve, on the threshold of puberty. A new school is bad enough, but ostracism in that new school, within a month of joining, was infinitely worse. As you can imagine, it did absolute wonders for my self-confidence.
And that wasn’t even the worst of it.
I’m ashamed to admit it, but the only language I can really speak is English. Now, of course, being in Delhi, my Hindi is improving, but it isn’t my mother tongue. That is Tamil, and I can barely speak it. When I do, I sound like a foreigner. I stammer, trip over words, and generally, sound incomprehensible.
So, moving back to Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, wasn’t exactly the happy homecoming my family expected.
In my mind, Chennai isn’t a city. It’s a closed vessel, where I keep my worst experiences and deepest shames. It’s a memory of the worst of me. Its warm, salty, sticky air speaks to me of darkness, shame, bitchiness, stupidity and everything I’d rather forget.
Chennai is everything I’d rather forget.