Though not nearly as noisy as its insect connotation, cricket the game is a religion and let me use it to set a bookmark in the modern history of mankind.
And there was the "speak-only-Gult-the-world-can-go-to-hell" task to be executed like clockwork. No matter how other people perceived you, you had to steadfastly stand by your 'principles' and 'values' with dogged determination.
There was (and is) this time when after having gotten sick of seeing billboards in Hindi and English, even a movie poster in the mother tongue seen through the muggy windows of a BEST bus seemed like Rasna International to a parched tongue. Gult movies were rare French delicacies, caviar or whatever it's called. And then there were these Hyderabad vs Mumbai IPL games where we looked like Earthlings in Mars wearing a Mumbai Indians shirt and rooting for... you know who. I had the absolute and delightful freedom to hurl abuses at everybody, quietly and loudly. Who cared! Nobody could understand me, remember?
Being branded a 'Gult' somehow made me recklessly proud instead of the usual 'raising an outcry condemning the racial discrimination on a linguistic basis' type of reaction. And yes, there was the usual "Abey, tu Hindi bhi bol leta hai?" look and exclamation, a feeling of utter surprise that I was not duffer when it came to comprehending and speaking the national language. All the bragging was about how great the roads were in Vizag, how Hyderabad was the blue-eyed-boy for IT in India, how atleast one person in every Gult family is a Green Carded software pro in' the States', et al. Whenever I told people that my hometown was a 10 hour train journey from Hyderabad, there was this foggy expression in their face that said "AP itna bada state hai??". There was the all time favourite that was a must in all dance parties "Aa ante Amalapuram" and all the impressing people stuff by telling them that Amalapuram is just a stone's throw away from my hometown. There have been times when hardcore northies had asked me to forward ringtones of Bommarillu. And of course there were the Angrez and Hyderabadi Nawabs and all the impersonations. All in all, I had seen it all!
Place: Some place near the Bandit Queen's birthplace
Tracking a truck that was sent to Hyderabad which did not reach the destination within the designated time, I had an excuse given to me by the transporter that because of the 'political and social unrest' in Hyderabad, the consignment was getting delayed. When I told him that he could give up lying to me because I belonged to the place, I got a question as a reply "Aap Hyderabad se hain?"
As I watch the saga unfold on Nirantara Vaartaa Sravanti TV 9, there is this feeling of divided loyalties that is coming up within me. Should the place that I call the place of my birth my home, or should the place that I call my home be the one to which I truly belong?
(Disclaimer: The above content is the same run-of-the-mill blah blah...)