Date: 7/25/2012 2:50:00 PM
I don't have any particular city / town that I call my own. 37 years of my life have been spent at 1 city, 1 township and 3 towns.
7 years in SPIC Nagar, 5 years in Pudukkottai, 1 year in Kumbakonam, 4 yrs in Chennai, 4 yrs in Kilakarai (College), 5 years in SPIC Nagar again, 7 years in Chennai and last 4 years shuttling between Chennai and Tuticorin. In none of these towns and cities have I felt as a part of that place. I am a perennial outsider, wherever I am.
Some people love the city they grow up in. Take Chandrachoodan for example. He might be city hopping every other year, but still his love for Madras/Chennai grows stronger. Or Bishwanath Ghosh - he loves Chennai so much that he wrote a wonderful book about it. I envy them. I love history, I dig up facts about hoary Madras, but if you ask me whether I love this city or am proud to be a Chennaivasi, I can't give you a straight answer.
Tuticorin is another thing altogether. I have spent close to 16 years in and around Tuticorin, but can never be part of this town. I earn my bread here, did part of my schooling here, but still feel a rank outsider.
Pudukkottai and Kumbakonam are only hazy memories. I hardly remember anything about those towns. When we planned an alumni meet and the idea of meeting at Kilakarai was mooted, every one rejected it. That should say a lot about how we felt about Kilakarai.
Partly due to the regular visits to the ancestral house and partly due to the strong bond with the extended family, the only place where I feel at home is my village, where I have hardly stayed for more than 10 days at a stretch. Ofcourse, the villagers look at me as an outsider there too.