Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Day 6 - Salem

I landed in Salem today, the land of my mother's ancestors...

Have had a supra long day today. In Tam land, they use the word supra a lot. Like in Ayikudy, I got told, ‘Your Tamil is supra’. I highly doubt that and I told the kind gurl who told me so :)

I got up at 4ish in the morning. My cab arrived at 4.30 and I was out of Auroville headed towards Pondi bus station. I got the Salem bus and had to change once again to get another bus to Salem. Something to do apparently with 30 minute stopovers.

My journey to Salem took me about 6 hours. Salem – the reasons for going there are very simple. My mom stayed there in an area called Swarnapuri about 40-50 years back. She had told me the address of the place and a school next to it as a landmark. So I went without the name of the building or the street – just my mom’s memories to hold me by. People were extremely kind and helpful. They asked me if I was a Brahmin. Total henh from my point of view but presumably logical from theirs!

We i.e. rick man (who later fleeced me) and I went up and down this particular street. I spoke and gave old history to a couple of people living there. Finally we went to the house designated C-55. The people there run a granite business and they really tried to help me.

Finally after much ado and probably causing some amount of neighbourhood gossip, I left the area. In the meantime my sister messaged me to let me know that the street name is Kalaimagal. The rick man informed me that we had been on the same street. So this story had a happy ending where I actually ended up going to the right house by pure chance. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photograph of my house but it felt darn good :)

Post book shopping where I bought a humungous fat-ass chutya book called the ‘The Plot’ (which I left behind in Hampi btw coz it was so boooooring) by Irving Wallace for 135 bucks, I went towards Laxmi – the eating joint that the bookshop owner recommended. I had nice khana there around 12 pm – my first meal of the day.

The best part here is that I am 5 minutes into eating my food when the waiter returns:

Waiter: ‘Which country you from?’

Me: Hhahahahaahahhahahhahahahahaha (in my head)

Then in my best Tamil that I could potentially manage I said

Me: ‘Naan Bumbai lende vandirken’ (Me’s from Bumbai).

Him: ‘Teri toh!’ (sort of anyways) :D

Got the bus for Madurai post this. Madurai, well I think the Goddess had a plan for me :) I wasn’t supposed to be in Madurai at all, supposed to take a bus to Tenkasi from here directly. I however ended up seeing a Tam movie, spectacular skies and rains.

Yep, I have already been witness to the first unseasonal rains of the season. Also did two conversations – one with a paati (old lady) from Mulund (Bumbai never seems to have left me) who at the end said, ‘Kalyanam aa galaya?’ which is supposedly the be all of our lives! I replied in the negative to my married status.

Another convo with this chick in her twenties who at the end of her convo said, ‘Palakkam irkai?’ referring to the fact that I was planning to stay alone in a hotel in an obviously unknown city.

So yeah basically, my plan to go Tenkasi got busted by the rains today. I am doing an impromptu night stay at Madurai. This means I get to the see the goddess tomorrow as I wanted to earlier. Have done dinner and will do snoozums in a bit. Early rise and shine again tomorrow.


Boy said...

Sounds like you had loads of fun and adventure babe.
Din't Mulund paati tell you about eligible Tam boys she knew or was she scandalised that you were alone and had short hair :P
Also, let it be noted that certain people were Googling and looking up Wikimaps about every school in Salem while you were hotfooting over South India. :D

dharmabum said...

ah, the goddess there, she is of exquisite beauty. there are quite a few other temples. i do remember this one on the hill top (azhagar koil?), where there were so many monkeys, i almost got scared when my dad took me there as a kid.

travelling by oneself is such bliss, and the kind of people we get to meet opens new windows to the world around us. i am glad you could share this - thank YOU!