Native of south Kerala my first appointment took me to this City Calicut in north Kerala. One home to another I believed, which proved me wrong. Once in the City it was a world different from where I came. The language even though same spoken in a different accent. Meanings of same words were poles apart. Words to be addressed with respect proved negative. I had to learn fast and be careful. Behavior, mannerisms all varied. No wonder they said ; “Unity in diversity”.
What made Calicut different? A few days into my job hired an auto to a friend’s place. The destination I was about to pay the amount indicated in the meter. For this distance it cannot be this much, the auto man said and returned the amount he felt was excess. I was looking at him in disbelief when he rode off as if this is usual. On hearing this incident, my friend said that the auto drivers of Calicut are known all over for their honesty and hospitality. The Tamil Nadu Government had even sent some drivers for training to Calicut under these people to learn how a driver should be.
These small things make people happy and the City is full of a happy lot smiling even at strangers. To a new one it will be a surprise and a bit suspicion. But take it they are like that. Love unconditionally. Starting from early Gujarati settlers, with the local Muslim, Hindu, Christian and further the Adivasis all live in harmony. The culture runs in the blood passed down by the rulers of Malabar The Samoodiris (Zamorins).
Walking along the main thoroughfares of the city one cannot miss the luminaries walk past you as ordinary people. I for one saw many writers I adored whom I considered extraordinary as very ordinary ones. Film personalities become just one among the crowd without anybody bothering them. Olympian P.T.Usha was there when I walked into a shop. My excitement could not be suppressed. Greeted her, and that was accepted with grace.
Calcut is different. Calicut is unique. It teaches a lot of values. One has to live there to experience it. Once experienced it will be difficult to leave as there is only one city like Calicut and it is CALICUT.