A tad emotional… but nevertheless… had to put into words what I felt…

The other day my friend remarked rather wistfully, “I wished I had remained in my small city and stuck to my small job. I was so much happier then…”

I have been often accused in the past of having a small-town mentality… Perhaps my reluctance to fall into certain social norms got me the tag… But it was the presumptuousness that stumped me… Oooh! You are from Kerala, you speak and write English very well… You listen to old Hindi film songs… you speak Hindi very well… these are some of the so-called statements that I’ve been hearing all over the years…

 Yes, I come from a small part of a reasonably large city… and I am proud of it… It was my own little world… a cultural hotpot… a perfect and unique blend of the traditional and the modern… a snug and cosy fit…

 Where you walked 10 paces and 10 people recognised you… Where neighbours were family… Where the nearby vegetable seller knew Tamil, Malayalam, Konkani, Gujarati and Marwari… and was appalled if you paid him for that extra sprig of coriander and a couple of lemons he tossed into your vegetable basket.. Where you united over a cup of homemade ice cream for three rupees or over piping hot payasam at a temple sadya. Or where you played Antakshari during power cuts with millions of mosquitoes buzzing in the background… Where you had bus friends… and temple friends… and typing class friends… and then some… When you walked 20 minutes to college early in the morning… with a spring in your step… because you saw the same cute children in their starched school-uniforms waving at you and smiling everyday… Where you celebrated Christmas with your neighbours with the same fervour as you celebrated Diwali… Where a bunch of you walked back home from college… having animated conversations…. arguing over non-existent subjects and sharing dreams. Your classmate Dinesh Menon saying, ‘Ben, Ben’ (sister in Gujarati) when he turned the corner and you said, ‘Bye. Bye’ Where absolute strangers got together on street corners to discuss the latest political situation or cricket…

 The list is endless… While living in a small town comes with its own disadvantages as well… I would like to overlook them. For the good always outweighs the bad… Where your roots play a huge role in shaping the person you are today…

What did I get from my small town? Looking back, I would say it’s shaped my character in many ways… Values I call them… Humility, honesty, acceptance, and the ability to grow wings and dream big…. The ability to find happiness in the small things of life… to live and let live…multicultural pluralism… and above all… to be content with what life has given me.

 Will I go back to my small town? I really don’t know what the future holds… but it will certainly hold a special place in the corner of my heart till I die… along with the values it stands for.


7 thoughts on “Lessons from my small town…

  1. i was nodding all through rekha…
    i agree we have been shaped by the small towns we call our native. but then, i wonder if you would find your small town the same any more…
    this one was a pure nostalgic experience. keep them coming rekha

  2. thanks suze… no… the town is not the same anymore… there’s hardly anyone there… the post was sparked off by an argument i had with a friend… and I felt that i had to put my point across 🙂

  3. if you are talking about the small ‘big’ town mattancherry, then it is the same now also. The thekkemadom, palace road, gujarathi street, TD temple, Palliyarakavu, etc. i am sure, even after 20 years from now, mattancherry is not going to change, the same old story…… 13 languages are spoken here, pan-beeda shops, the busy vegetable markets, etc….

  4. this one from my classmate and friend Dinesh Menon who sent me a mail on this blog post. Am touched!

    You really made me cry, I should say……it’s indeed great to remember a friend like you from those beautiful days of life…!

    Thanks Rekha for still remembering me …………….I’m so lucky and proud to have a friend like you. Life was so challenging those days for all of us-but at least I think we were sincere towards it which made -and gave us a positive energy to challenge the tougher things in life….!
    And indeed, the friendship we shared was so sincere, within the hearts we loved, cared and always had all of us in our prayers….

    And I hope Rekha ben we all have a time in life again, where we could sit along together (like we used to those days)…a retired life…..peaceful, contented remembering the days we had together and still how much valuable it is to our life….!!!

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