Welcome to Ramnad equals welcome to semi rural living. I was sort of prepared for this and my social work backing helped me stay realistic and not hope for too much. Yet I cannot deny the shock and surprise at living in this poorly developed district. The open drainage and green water logged plots with several black piggy residents was something I had not bargained for. The bumpy roads, erratic power supply, hot summers and staring eyes I was prepared for. But certainly not open drains! The monsoon season helped me witness the worst times here in Ramnad. In spite of the inflow of water into several houses, people still seemed to carry on as usual and were surprised when I happened to share that such things are not too common back home.
The people of Ramnad are traditional. Most of them are warm and cordial and few are exceptionally hospitable like our house owners. Most of the men lead a relaxed life, operating business and boozing while the women relish gossip and cooking. Sadly, women are suppressed with many young girls getting married without a right to education. Equality of the sexes is an alien concept here in Ramnad.
The only regular outing we have is the visit to the market. Ignoring the curious stares of fellow shoppers, we manage to shop with caution now after several experiences of getting duped. There are a few well stocked super markets. The place is completely stripped of branded goods. Prices of daily essentials like vegetables are hiked at the look of outsiders like us. A large number of bakers can be seen all through the town and “Mummy” is the most auspicious name for these crowded stalls. The market has a variety of king mummy, new mummy, best mummy…bakeries.
Women here attire in sarees while young girls sport salwar. Not many married women wear salwar kameez and in respect of the local dressing preference I restricted myself to salwars allowing my jeans and tees to gather dust in the cupboard. The only time I did wear jeans was to dine in a local restaurant. After the meal, the waiter was too eager to know where Deepak worked and started a small conversation and then he brought out his pressing query, “To which country do you belong?” We certainly don’t look western or eastern and after controlling a desire to guffaw, Deepak replied that we were pure Tamil Indians.
In Spite of all the snags and setbacks, I have somehow gotten used to life in this semi rural district and though I cannot say I love the place, I can confidently say, I live the place!