So, spent the weekend in the boonies. Getting off at Tuticorin airport, one is immediately greeted by the smell of neem, and the dry, intense heat, so different from the humid Madras kind. Good to be home.
Much has changed-
Apartment complexes are mushrooming everywhere, especially in the suburbs. This is awful. Kalimark, which used to sell the best buns and cupcakes is gone. Also gone are Supreme, Queen's and every other small shop selling baked goods. Only the bigger businesses- with their neon signs and air-conditioned stores- remain. The town area still looks much the same, thankfully. Iruttu Kadai Alva- so called because the only source of illumination for the tiny shop is a zero watt bulb- is still doing roaring business- demand far outstrips supply, and each customer may not buy more than a kilo of alva. Sort of like the iphone, in the early days. And Bovonto still survives, ha ha!
We've got this old driver, who's been with us since my uncles were boys, and a favourite with us due to his many eccentricities. Chief among these was his habit of fondly referring to our Maruti Omni as Kannukutti, and to the Ambassador as erumai mAdu. Anyway, when I saw him on Friday last, my jaw nearly dropped- the man who was always dressed in a folded-up veshti was wearing... trousers! I've seen it all now. I think.
Ate, no gorged on my grandmother's cooking. Kozhukattais and karuppu thosai, especially.
The printer at the ticketing office at the airport never works. As a result, and to our great amusement our ticket was a tiny piece of paper with our names, PNR number and date written on it. Stamped and signed, of course.
At security check, the woman wielding the metal detector looks me up and down, and I flash her (what I suppose to be) a winning smile. She asks me, "Enga, madrasukkA poreenga?" Where else, I want to say. There's only one flight from that airport, and that flight goes to Madras. Instead I simply nod. "Oho, enna vishayamA poreenga?" I say, "Illai, angerundhu dhAn vandhEn." And she replies, "Oh ungaLa munnAdi pArthade illai, adhAn kEttEn. There, the morbid Tirunelveli curiosity. A few years ago, this question would have annoyed me no end. Now I find the whole exchange hilarious.