Growing up, I hated Coimbatore. I hated it for being the most non-happening place ever. I hated its guts for not having people who I could discuss how amazing Blyton is for having named Fatty, Fredrick Algernon Trotteville. I hated wanting to desperately watch “Boys” or “Anniyan” just to fit in, when all I really wanted was the collectors’ edition of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I hated not knowing what crumpets and scones tasted like and that pizza was a luxury that was ordered for celebrations. I hated that I knew the names of the most exquisite wines but didn’t get a chance to taste even a local brand. I hated that "hanging out" was a concept unknown - very difficult for a 16-year-old with social needs. I hated that nobody introduced me to Pearl Jam or Nirvana or even Metallica when I was a teenager, simply because Coimbatore was too far removed from civilization.
But now, a tinge of pride creeps into my voice when someone compliments me on the respect that drenches my Tamil, because Coimbatore Tamil is considered to be the closest to pure Tamil. I go back home for vacation and think how far MY city has come in the few years since I left it. I pointedly glare at the Roommate when he needles me about the very short relationship that Coimbatore has had with malls. And I will yank an arm off anyone who says “aey, you are from Chennaai, na?”.
I’m not sure I’ll ever go back, the fish-out-of-water feeling is too deeply ingrained for that. But I suspect I will always be proud of Coimbatore.