Ever since I’ve started this blog, I’ve written a number of write-ups on some beautiful places I’ve visited like Fatehpur Sikri, Jhansi, Old Delhi and the city I now live in – Chennai. A short stay at my hometown over the last weekend made me realise that I’ve hardly written much about the place where my roots lie – my hometown. No doubt, I love Delhi and can write page after page about the place, its exquisite culture, history, food and its stories. During the two years that i stayed in Noida, I could imagine Delhi only as a living entity, with its constantly changing exteriors and unchanging soul. Delhi is one of its kind and I will write a long tribute to that city one day.
There is much that I like about Chennai, for I had my first corporate stint in this city and it is here that I got a job of my liking after almost two strenuous years. It is here that I came for my holidays during my graduation years. But I cannot write about Chennai while I’m still here for I believe that a city is best written about once you leave it; for then you see the positive side of it and forgive the minor flaws it holds
But my hometown, that is a different world for me. I’ve always found flaws with it. I would myself complain a lot about the place, but would not like anyone saying ill about it. I would then become defensive. Thrissur has no history of epic proportions to tell like Delhi and it is not a transforming metro like Chennai and yet, it has a lot which these cities badly lack. After the culturally bankrupt life of Riyadh and Dubai, life in Kerala’s cultural capital was the best thing to have happened to me.
I went around the Thrissur Round this time and saw that quite a few things had changed. Current Books, the shop that marked the beginning of Round East, had been demolished. It was from here that I bought some of the first books since I had started reading and if I’m right, it was only here that you got a good selection of Amar Chitra Kathas and other English books. This was before I saw the Landmarks and Crosswords of the big cities. You never knew the capacity of Current Books. You could hardly locate the book you wanted. But tell the storekeeper and he would emerge in two minutes with that book from nowhere. I’m told Current Books has moved to spacious grounds elsewhere in the town.
Its sister shop Cosmo Books has also moved to a space near the Priyadarshini Bus Stand (Vadakke Stand). The bus stand boasts of a huge shop space for India Coffee House. The ICH with its turbaned waiters was the last word on coffee in Kerala. We did not have the Coffee House of Calcutta but prided ourselves for ICH, where people came and chatted endlessly over a newspaper, coffee and cutlets. But a few steps away from ICH I spotted two new coffee bars, with their couches, Italian coffees and fanciful interiors. Small town Thrissur also has its local version of Cafe Coffee Day now.
There are newer restaurants, more shopping complexes and more vehicles on the road. Education is in bad shape with hartals and bandhs. Companies are wary of opening shop in the state. Youngsters in Kerala usually move to Karnataka or Tamil Nadu for their education. But it is here that I did my graduation and I did it pretty well. I was into a load of extra-curricular activities, learnt classical music (perhaps the best thing I did to myself in life), read some of the best books and yet found enough time to study. These days, I always complain that I don’t get time to do anything. But I think time was quite inexpensive in Thrissur. I did a lot more work and there was still time left in my daily life. In all of my life, I’ve only spent five years in whole in Thrissur and have lived outside mostly. The town does not goad you to catch up with anything. It does not expect me to deliver on some target or meet some deadline. I know that at the end of the day, even when I’m nothing, I can come here and the place will take me back without complain. Perhaps that is what you call home.