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Mr. Mathrubootham has landed

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Respected Madam/Sir,

Whether you are remembering your old friend Mr. Mathrubootham of letter writing fame or you are thinking Mathrubootham? What is Mathrubootham? Who is Mathrubootham? When is Mathrubootham? How is Mathrubootham?

How dare you Madam/ Sir, every single day in U.S. I was thinking how much I am missing my The Hindu newspaper. But here you have already forgotten.

After delightful holidays in America I am freshly returned to motherland of India. Madam/ Sir, going abroad and all means everything is aha oho. When I was in U.S., my son said, “Appa, let us go to New York, it is greatest city in the whole world.”

I said, “Ok son, no need to say such big things, have you seen Delhi? Bombay? Chennai? Tiruvanth... Tirunavan... Tivirunantha... you know what I am referring to, capital of Kerala with name like TV serial going on and on. Tiru veranda something something.”

In New York what and all I saw. This direction big building. That direction big building. Another direction big park. And what is next to park? One more big building. My son said, “Appa now you tell me, what you think? This is greatest city in the world or some nonsense New Delhi?”

Inside my heart

Madam/ Sir, how can I explain the great dilemma of Mr. Mathrubootham. Inside my heart I am thinking one thing. But what I want to say is different thing.

Inside my heart I am thinking: Oh my god this is greatest city in whole world. How many tall buildings and beautiful parks. How many hotels and restaurants and wonderful museums. Twenty- four hours people are enjoying including ladies. Comparing Chennai to New York is like comparing Gautam Gambhir to Gautami.

But can I say such things publicly? Never never thousand times never. How I can say such things with self-respect in foreign country? So when my son asked, I said it is ok. Big buildings and all is ok. Park is fine. But where is ancient culture? Where is traditional food items? Where is the reality of simple people and humble lifestyle? All that you can get only in Chennai and Mumbai and all. New York is good. But India is also great, I said.

Inside my heart what I am thinking? Culture mannangkatti, whether to go back or stay here forever and enjoy?

Chennai in South India

Same thing happened again and again in U.S. In the airport itself one passport counter fellow asked me where you are coming from? I said, “From the plane, where else, this is airport or Indian Coffee House?” He said, “Old man I mean which city you are coming from?” I said, “Chennai in South India.” He asked, “Oh it must be wonderful?”

Then and there I gave one Tirukkural about beauty and culture and people of Chennai. He said, “Wow what a magical place I will go one day for sure.”

Madam/ Sir what to do? All these things you have to do when travelling abroad. You have to enjoy fully but also minimum 15 times per day you must tell India is greatest country in the world, otherwise traitor feelings will come in the mind. But as soon as plane is landing in Chennai airport I went back to normal. When Mrs. Mathrubootham saw me in airport she asked, “Old man, how was your flight?”

I said, “Kamalam how you are managing to live in this country. Temperature is too hot, building is too old, staff is too rude, customer service is very poor. What is this nonsense India? This country is too country.”

She said, “Mathru shut up. You went to U.S. for one month means you have become Ronald Reagan? Come quickly if you don’t want to pay waiting charge for Uber.“

I said, “Oh in this country public transport system is not there?”

Kamalam said, “If you say ‘this country’ one more time I will put cyanide in your kathrikkai rasavangi.” I maintained dignified silence after that.

Yours in globalisation,

J. Mathrubootham

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2021 7:39:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/what-india-india-mathrubootham-has-landed/article27653447.ece

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