Sunday, January 29, 2012
A city is a lot like a woman. You may fall for it because of a certain physical attribute — the eyes, the smile, the dimple — but it is the chemistry you develop over time that eventually makes you stick to it.
Millions of people visit Agra every year to see the Taj Mahal, but how many choose to settle in Agra just so that they can have a glimpse of the architectural wonder on their way to work every day? Mumbai, on the other hand, can be very harsh on its citizens, yet people who have spent a few years in the city almost always talk of it fondly — that's chemistry. That's what happened between me and Chennai.
When I came in January 2001, I had no idea I would end up spending eleven years here — and god alone knows how many months or years more. I came here more as a tourist-journalist, who wanted to experience Chennai and use it as a base to tour the whole of south India in the next three or four years before returning to Delhi to settle down there.
Then something happened. Just the way I had discovered Chennai as a conducive place to be in, Chennai also discovered the writer in me. Thus began a lasting love affair, the result of which is Tamarind City, whose cover pages I am finally able to share with you today.
The book is a tribute to the city I've called home for eleven years now — the city that nourished me as a writer and at the same time let me be (Chapter 5 is titled 'Sex and the City'). I hope it is liked by readers and reviewers alike.