Wednesday, 20 January 2016

A Conversation between Streets and Grandmothers

There is something extremely fascinating about the intimate ways in which people are connected to places. Be it the familiar ones or the unfamiliar ones. After the death of my grandfather, my grandmother lived alone in Madurai, for many years. She didn’t want to move in with her children or grandchildren because Madurai was an “intimate” space for her. She knew her neighbors well and felt very happy when children greeted her every morning before going to school. A sense of familiarity. Identity. Reassurance may be. It was very fascinating for me to see her count and remember each and every pothole on the road that connected her house and the nearby temple. It seemed as if she communicated with the road using a language that was exclusively available to her!
This reminds me of Ursula Buendia of One Hundred Years of Solitude. For many years, none of her family members get to know about her blindness because she knows her “spaces” so “intimately”! Marquez’s Ursula uses sunlight as her tool to journey through her labyrinthine house and my sweet grandmother had her silly potholes! Grandmothers are simply adorable, fictional or real... :)
How wonderful it would be to have such intimate interactions with spaces we use every day! Oh please don’t label me an idealist! I am well aware that my “intimate” companions (my earphones and cellphone) would be offended with me today.