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Just Shoot Me

Bala, 28, Gordon Gekko in the making, pseudo-intellectual, cynic, bibliophile, obsessive compulsive ranter...

Spitting in Madurai

March 30, 2006

Reading Ted Power's Blog (via desipundit) was a revelation. He is an American living in Madurai and blogs about his experiences here. It is reading another outsider's perspective that makes me write this. As the constant reader knows, i moved to Madurai about six months back and have been cursing the city since then. I am not a total stranger to this city, for i was born here and have been to it a few times before. But for a person accustomed to "naan undu en velai undu" character of chennai and the you are here so? attitude of coimbatore, Madurai is a total culture shock. The people are mostly what we call kattans (This is only a semi-derogatory remark). Let me Explain:
This is the first city in TN where i see warning boards inside buses that warn "No Spitting". A "No Smoking" board is not a surpise, but spitting inside a bus? I am accustomed to the proprietary habit of spitting on pavements, paths and the occasional two wheeler rider through the window.When i first saw the board, i assumed it meant "dont lean outside of the window and spit". I discovered that the warnings boards have to be taken literally, when i saw for myself that people do indeed have the habit of spitting inside the buses. Now i know my fellow tamilians can be incredible stupid in some issues - but what sort of idiots spit INSIDE THE BUS!!!
posted by Bala, 4:10 PM


I have been in coimbatore for years & have to definetely comment on "Kaattans". Well Mr. Madurai, I guess you have not been to madras (now chennai) where even the educated one will not follow the rule. I think in cities like Madurai & trichi where it is filled with moving population and mostly villagers. Most of them dont read & write. You may have seen "Enna Ezhuthi vechurikka?" meaning is the rule written somewhere? Even if they dont spit inside or outside, it has to be there. Even in every airplane (*around the world), they announce "it is a non-smoking flight, tampering with Lavetory Smoke detectors - voilators will be proscecuted" - Do you know why! IT is just a friendly reminder. Now, get accustomed with the Kaataans - who have good heart otherwise (unlike the most educated crooks).
commented by Blogger Jk, 11:46 PM  

I hope you are not a european or an American!

See, as Bala said, this city is nothing but a joint of all villages around and 75% of the town buses ply only to these villages. Not only this, the geographic location of Madurai is in such a way that all major south TN cities are in a 3 to 4 hours ride on a bus and eventually all people who throng are passersby. I accept the word Kaattan for us. But, touch your heart heart and say........Where is your root from?

When u compare MAdurai and Chennai. I'll give a scenario i've faced. I was on a Town bus in Chennai and suddenly a passenger started shouting someone has picked by purse. You know what was the reaction from the conductor? he stopped the bus and got the passenger down. Whereas in a similar situation in Madurai. The conductor and driver stopped the bus in the nearest police station and handed over the thief. If you still like to call us Kaattans, Yes We are KATTAANS!
commented by Blogger Narayanaswamy.G., 12:45 PM  
jk & narayana,

I see the term "kattans" has riled you up both. Like i explained it is meant as a semi-derogatory remark. People like me, who have lived in chennai and coimbatore in the past do find fellow maduraites to be both curious/helping and insensitive/meddling. Incidents like the one Narayan has explained, do bring out the "good samaritan" nature of this place.

And one more thing - i am the one living here and likely to live here for the near future. It is easy to comment and pass judgment from the comforts of _______ (fill it up with whatever city you are living), while i am the one who has to make to do with people who spit inside 77B.
commented by Blogger Bala, 8:42 AM  
Interestingly, I had an opportunity to Interview Ted Power may be you guys are interested.
commented by Anonymous Balaji, 7:28 PM  
As a citizen of madurai, i used to frequent 77B in the mid-late 90s but i had never encountered such spittings. BTW, its really offensive to say ur fellow brothers "kattans". As i see from ur previous post of Aruppukottai,u are really insensitive and i was aghast. u have a prejudice against small time towns/cities. My dear friend, from what u write i can presume u havent been out of chennai/coimbatore. take my word dude , u will be shocked to see exactly SAME people in mumbai,calcutta and all parts of N.India. Also, its funny to see u talking as a pseudo-intellectual. Actually,i get uncomfortable with guys who hail from small towns but go to big cities like chennai (if u call it BIG)and look down on others.u are 25, atleast grow up. In the same madurai, if u say that u gave up IT and studying history people will be inquisitive to know why. do u have the guts to say it in B'lore or Chennai? U will be said on face - "LOSER"...if u are ready to counter argue,please reply in the same post..Maddy
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