Don’t be confused if you land in Chennai and happen to see the word ‘Anna’.
For starters, it is the Tamil word for ‘brother’ -especially the elder brother kind. And for the un-initiated in the world of Tamil politics, ‘elder brother’ is a convenient way to escape from reality and indulge in fantasies.
But this ‘Anna’ that you encounter everywhere actually refers to an erstwhile Chief Minister of the state.
Before we explore this further, let me make you comfortable in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. For that we need to move out of the aeroplane.
So, you land in the Anna International Airport. And hail a taxi service run by the erstwhile ‘Black and Yellow’ Taxi folks.
And you encounter the drivers who belong to the Anna Trade Union. Hence don’t bargain with them.
Then when you take the taxi, you look at the Anna Statue and pay obeisance to him, yes the guy who stands on the pedestal pointing at a direction. You correctly take the exact opposite of the direction pointed out by Anna.
You travel fifty yards during which you encounter fifty other statues of Anna in different shapes and sizes and poses, one reading a book, another standing as though in deep contemplation and yet another that is in deep conversation with another statue.
And when you step on the accelerator, you reach Anna Road ( also known as Anna Saalai ).
And then starts your sojourn with Anna all through.
You pass by the Anna Centenary Library, pass through several small Anna Nagars and eventually reach a mofussil bus stand called as Aringar Anna Bus Stand ( Aringar in Tamil means an ‘Erudite person ).
So, what do you do in the mofussil bus stand ? Board a bus to the Anna Cemetry at Marina beach.
And while you travel towards the beach, you pass through the sprawling Anna University Campus that of course has a magnificent Anna’s statue.
And when you are bored with all these Annas’ then you have the Anna Zoological Park.
Never for a moment ask me what ‘Anna; has got to do with an Institute of Engineering on the one hand and a zoological park on the other. There are certain things that you don’t question for you know that there would be no answers.
Now that you are familiar with Anna, you are sure to understand that the ever present and ever visible word ‘Anna’ would not confound you when you encounter that hence forth.
No, don’t get me wrong. It is not due to paucity of words or names in the Tamil language that the word ‘Anna’ is being used in all places. Tamil has enough words and names; only that those are not known to the majority of Tamils.
So, what all can you do under the name of “Anna’ and still go ahead without any compunction ?
Well, for a start, you can utter anything under the sun and claim that this was uttered by Anna when you had the opportunity to talk to him. No, you don’t need to be worried if you are confronted with sayings such as “Show the evidence..”. These things don’t happen in Tamil Nadu as anything uttered under the supposed authorship of Anna would never be contested, ever.