Saturday, 20 March 2010

Chennai days – Part 2

It is all in the mind, I kept telling myself again, this is free country, there is no problem out there and there is nothing to worry. I do not recall now if it said, ‘private property – keep away, entry by permission or trespassers will be prosecuted (or castrated)’ or some such thing. But I definitely know that there were no skull and bones pictures and the watchman seemed a ‘namke vaste’ geezer, the remains of wealthy days of the Nawab, vestiges long trimmed by the passage of time. But the sharp nag at the back of the neck and chest remained, for I was convinced I was in a place, a place I should not be in – maybe due to everybody else saying I should not go there. At that time I did not know that the Nawab and the people inside were a gentle lot.

It has always been like that with me, some friends may remember my experience with the taxi driver or the jump into the pond, articles published elsewhere. Act first, think later was my motto in those impulsive younger days. So that morning, on my way to the bus stop, on a Saturday, alone and lonesome, I was out planning to go for the Mardi Gras at IIT Adayar, which none of the others in Ambika Nivas were the least interested in, I decided to step into Amir mahal and take a look at the prohibited grounds, the place from where all those burkha clad females and shehenai wadan had emanated. I had to clear the mystery in my mind.