Laughs and life lessons from Kodai’s mysterious millenial agony aunt. (Illustration by Pia Alizé Hazarika)

Pity Paati: Laughs and life lessons from Kodai’s mysterious millennial agony aunt

Ms P, any New Year’s resolutions you’ve already broken?

Hi, This-Is-Not-The-Role-Model-You’re-Looking For,

I’m afraid keeping New Year’s resolutions is one of those very, very few things I am not good at.

I start each year with misguided enthusiasm, listing at least half a dozen resolutions, from learning to make music using water glasses to giving up wine (a sort of Goals Gone Wild, if you will). Sadly, it never lasts. By the end of the week, I inevitably find myself collapsing onto the divan with a quiet yet dramatic air of defeat, thinking, maybe next year.

Anyway, this extensive experience with failure has given me insight into how we can turn things around in 2023 (that’s why you wrote to me, is it not?).

Firstly, #progressnotperfection. Break goals down into teeny-tiny chunks. If you want to get into shape, don’t dive straight into three hour gym workouts. Walk to the grocery store once a week instead. There’s no shame in this.

And secondly, don’t forget to treat yourself for small wins to keep motivation high: new year, new (incrementally happier) you. (God, I am so wise.)

How are you dealing with climate crisis doomsayers, Ms P? Are we really safer in Kodai?

Hello, fellow The-End-Is-Nigh-Er,

I hear you. Dire news headlines, despairing memes, Greta Thunberg’s stern face appearing everywhere—it’s impossible not to be reminded daily that time is running out, that our planet is heading straight towards a climate apocalypse.

And it’s not as though Kodai will escape unscathed; any local will tell you that it’s been raining more frequently and harder than before and that the summers are hotter and the winters colder. It’ll only get worse.

Some days, this leaves me fretful and anxious. But pessimism can be immobilising, so on those days, I choose to watch dumb-as-rocks climate disaster movies, like The Day After Tomorrow, Geostorm and Sharknado, drawing comfort from the fact that we will probably never fight flying sharks or malevolent ice.

These ridiculous hijinks make my real-world problems seem smidgens more addressable, and I’m prodded back into living my best life. As should you.

My friends in other mountains never come to visit me. Is it a question of too much up and down, or is there a way to tempt them over?

Hi, Ain’t-No-Mountain-High-Enough,

I’m assuming that you’ve already visited your friends in their mountains and are just peeved that they aren’t returning the favour? If not, then I must say, you sound like a bit of a tyrant, and it’s no wonder no one wants to see you.

But if so, excuse my language. Let’s try this again.

The best way to show them what they’re missing out on is to send them articles from The Kodai Chronicle. And I’m not just saying that because I want to expand my fan base… I swear. There’s simply no way anyone could resist a visit after reading me—I mean, about life in Kodai. After all, we have sholakilis that can sing 500+ musical notes, bushes of tart-sweet wild berries you can pick and eat raw, and more colourful characters than we can keep track off.

But in the shocking event that this still doesn’t work, I’m afraid there’s no other option but to find new friends who live closer and who have better taste.

Ms Perumalmalai

Ms Perumalmalai grew up in Kodai, worked in different cities in India, and has travelled around the world. She recently returned to Kodai and lives in Perumalmalai with her cat and rooms full of books.

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