Where are you from?
When I face this question from people outside Tamil Nadu, I have to explain my place with its circumference. So, my answer invariably goes as "Do you know this place called Madurai?"
In spite of frequent visits, Madurai is one of the most confusing cities to me - Not because of its concentric, lotus-like layout of the central part, but because of its well-convoluted & well-congested roads, and innumerable one-ways! Whatever direction you go, you find temple towers, textile shops, mobs of people and idli kadais! I guess the Idli shops gave the city its stature "Sleepless City".
I think the name "Madurai" should resonate with "shopping". First time visitors of Chennai's T.Nagar are invariably surprised by its crowd and copycat shops - Not the one who is familiar to Madurai! If your town is within a circumference of 100 KM of Madurai and if your family has at least 1 woman, you are dead! In the name of shopping, you would be roasted like the poor little thing that is pierced into the grills of the chicken kababs! Just imagine.. You can't complain much; The grilling is slow, grueling and doesn't have any visibility of completion; You just keep going around the same place again and again! When needed, they scrap a portion of your ass(et) i.e. money. You will not be spared till everything can be completely scrapped out of you.
Historically, the city is associated with its great culture -especially amazing temples and tamil poetry. Yes, the temples still remain the same. I doubt the "tamil" aspect of the city. The city's slang doesn't have any resemblance to the poetic tamil. Yes, it's not as scr**ed as Madras Tamil - Nevertheless bad enough that one finds it difficult to associate it with "Sanga Thamizh".
From ancient times, the city is also known for its valor and bravery. I think it's true till date. People's weapons speak more than their mouths - Be it the local thug or the women at home! No wonder, the city has one of the most treacherous political mafias and goondaism. So, given an option, try not to get into any conflict with Madurai-tes. ;)
It's anybody's guess why I like the city irrespective of all its pitfalls. :)