Sunday, 26 June, 2022
HomeiWitness'Did Modi send you' to 'Are you really South Indian' — questions...

‘Did Modi send you’ to ‘Are you really South Indian’ — questions on the road to Kanyakumari

iWitness — the story behind the story of ThePrint journalists’ experiences on assignment.

Dindigul, Madurai, Tirunelveli: A journey to the southernmost tip of mainland India, Kanyakumari, helps one see how Tamil Nadu changes as you move further south.

Hoping to grab a few stories before the state hits the polls on 6 April, I was ready for the drive of approximately 8 hours from Coimbatore to be a lot longer.

The journey, not only scenic, was a revelation — in terms of the electorate.

The first stop was at Reddiarchatram in Dindigul district, where an elderly woman explained how she had not got any assistance from this government and spoke about welfare schemes she received from Amma (J. Jayalalithaa) and Kalaignar (M.K. Karunanidhi).

The women of Reddiarchatram were quite the anomaly as they were quite undecided, whereas most across Tamil Nadu were clear on who they were going to vote for.

A frustrated Lakshmi turned to me and asked with utmost seriousness: “Who do you think I should vote for?”

My chuckles didn’t go down well with her and she emphasised it was no joke. She explained that her husband passed away a few years ago, and she does not have a son, so “if anyone had to take care of her, it would be the government”.

If a few wanted my advice in Dindigul, further down south in Madurai district, people even wondered if I was PM Narendra Modi’s agent.

One elderly-looking man watched on as I interviewed people in Andipatti, and then asked if Modi had sent me since I was asking so many questions.

Lakshmi, a resident of Reddiarchatram, who wanted voting advice | Photo: Revathi Krishnan/ThePrint
Lakshmi, a resident of Reddiarchatram, wanted voting advice | Photo: Revathi Krishnan/ThePrint

Mutton curry and indeterminate political choices

As the day progressed, and hunger hit us, Chella Anna (who has been driving me across the state) and I stopped at a roadside eatery outside Madurai.

While he devoured an egg rice platter, I stuck to my ever favourite thattai dosai. Just as the dosai came, Maheshwari, the eatery owner, asked ever smilingly if either one of us would like to try her mutton curry.

The dish was mostly curry but the few pieces of mutton were so tender that they melted in my mouth. While the dosai wasn’t as good as what I had in Tindivanam, the mutton curry was the best I’ve ever had.

As I went to pay the bill, the billing counter was a poll jamboree of sorts — calendars with images of Jayalalithaa, OPS and EPS making way for posters of DMK’s M.K. Stalin on the table.

Asked to explain the contradiction, Maheshwari smiled and said she hadn’t made up her mind on who to vote for in these elections. “I need to think some more. It is an important decision to make,” she said.

Kanyakumari

After almost 12 hours, we made it to Kanyakumari. As I checked into the hotel, the concierge seemed bewildered by my name and enquired to confirm if I was South Indian.

When I explained my upbringing, for the nth time in the state, he said: “You should learn to speak Tamil properly; it is the oldest language. You have Tamil blood in you.”

On the way to my room, Deepak, an employee from Bihari’s Sitamarhi who helped with my bags, promptly reassured me that he picked up Tamil in no time and that it shared quite a few words with Hindi.

As deadlines piled up, with the last few days of campaigning to go before polling, I was anxious to get all the work done.

But five minutes at the sunset point on the southernmost tip of mainland India, with the wind blowing against me and the ocean water hitting my face, took away whatever lethargy I had in me.

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)


Also read: ‘Dear PM Modi, campaign for my opponent’ — DMK leaders’ cheeky request ahead of polls


 

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14 COMMENTS

  1. The most dumb article
    First of all there is no category as Main land India. There is only main land China.
    I doubt whether the writer is a journalist or habitual blogger

  2. This is not a travelogue or a feature on Modiji ‘s visit to Tamilnadu..only for misleading the readers against Modi’s visit..

  3. An interview or opinion of one person cannot be the views of entire region. Writer knew that the article would be published only if it meant to impress someone.

  4. As a born Kanpuriya, and studied in IIT Delhi – I really want Tamil Nadu to elect DMK and give 0 seats to BJP. Because I want gap between Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to close – and eventually UP to overtake TN in per capita income in Yogiji’s second term. I wholeheartedly wish you get DMK and extreme corruption that comes with EVR politics.

  5. What ia Bihari’s Sitamarhi???
    By the way day by day prints standard is going down it’s a mix of savita bhabhi magazines & the wire & more of these nonsensical views of interns . People are capable of building their views just give us news not views of saste interns

  6. Most idiotic article that fools the readers as goats and sheep. It’s laughable as it credited as edited too. What a waste of time, with this nonsense of senseless scribble.

  7. Tamil nadu under EPS GREAT WORK AND TAMIL NADU NEED CHANGES 1 FREE FREE FREE
    2 APPEASEMENT FOR BRIYANIS N RICE BAG
    3 LOT OF CASTE LEADER

  8. “Revathi Krishnan” is as South Indian a name as it can get! Why should the concierge be bewildered? Not only should you learn Tamil, you also need to learn your English, as well as the art of lying on the garb of writing articles, which can neither be categorised into political, nor into travelogue variety! Wasted time reading it…

  9. “Revathi Krishnan” is as South Indian a name as it can get! Why should the concierge be bewildered? Not only should you learn Tamil, you also need to learn your English, as well as the art of lying on the garb of writing articles, which can neither be categorised into political, nor into travelogue variety! Wasted time reading it…

  10. What is meant by “Dipak from Bihari’s Sitamarhi”?
    This worker Dipak belongs to a place called Sitamarhi, owned by a person named Bihari?

  11. The political background of the places detailed here are bastions of certain parties. His article is just for “time pass”. Please do a better job next time

  12. What is the matter? Lost en route? This is neither a travelog, nor a political story! Nevermind, I enjoyed reading it.

  13. Democracy succeeds in India because of people lime Lakshmi and Maheshwari who take their democratic right to vote seriously👍

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