It is about 17 years (give or take a few months) since my parents began living in ‘Shanti Sadhan’ in the suburb called Kochadai in Madurai. It is hard to say that peace reigns here these days. But, to an extent, it is also a state of mind. On that basis, I can say that when I come here, I find that peace reigns. When I take a walk around the apartment blocks, I find old people chanting either Vishnu Sahasranamam or some other slokam at the small Vinayaka temple inside the compound. Today, they were chanting slokams from the Bhagawad Gita. There was ‘Kandar Sashti Kavasam’ playing from an apartment. Nitin Pai, my friend from Bangalore, finds the absence of advertisements and hoarding for Pepsi and Pizza Hut in Madurai very reassuring. Not that he is a fan of Cocoa Cola. I guess you get what he means.
To some extent, when I come here, I find that the talk of bonuses, Bloomberg screens, BMWs and the chatter of competitive aspirations recede into the distant background. I do not say that they do not exist among households here. Perhaps, they do and perhaps, they are limited. I do not get to hear them. I find that very comforting. Visiting this place enables me to go back to a time when the world was somewhat more innocent or simpler or at least I used to think so then. That is good enough for me.