If you have scoured through my blog from the beginning, you would know that I am a small town girl at heart. Not that I dislike big cities, but I have been raised in a humble middle class neighborhood where neighbors are family. Like, we came back yesterday – home, sweet home and, water problem followed us religiously! But wait, our lovely neighbors were there– “Need water, let know!” So, you get the drift. That is precisely why I love my small town Bharuch because, it beats a big metro hands down when it comes to goodwill and simplicity.
So if you have shifted bases across the country and place your bum for a while in a big city, you would realize there isn’t much camaraderie to rave about as compared to a small town. But, if you have been born and brought up in a city, it is a totally different story then. However for nomads like me, every place I touch down becomes my home. And that is how, understanding the social dynamics has become a part and parcel of my life. Anyways, the post title suggests – Madras chronicles and so, let me get back to the post before I entangle myself in the spicy hot debate of big city versus small town!
In the past, I had always ranted about how much I disliked metros! I have visited all of them and maybe, Kolkata was by far the closest to my liking. Let’s say, it ain’t that fast as the others and, somehow I like it. But I am sure Kolkata has changed since, as I last visited it in the year 2003 during the famous Durga pujo time. Surely, it is a city that mesmerizes you with its trams, metros, politics and lip smacking jhaalmuri and puchkas! And then, there is saddi Dilli which is a great place too, if you choose to overlook the pollution aspect. I have visited Delhi about three times as a tourist and, am in love with the old Delhi side. Just cant get enough of that place. Then, there is Goddess Mahalaxmi’s Mumbai. If Bombay were to be described as a woman, I would say she is wild, mysterious, sensuous and unpredictable. No doubt she is the most sought after metros in India! And then, there is Amma’s kingdom in Tamil Nadu – Madras. If I am asked to take my pick among the four metros, I would pick Madras with eyes shut. I have been to Madras umpteen times in my childhood as I have many of my extended families residing there. But in those years, I never developed a liking for it despite the fact that the city held no language barriers for me. Perhaps, I took time to notice more of the people than the place in those days. But this time, it was different. And, it was pleasantly different.
A decade and more has passed since I walked on the busy street of T.Nagar. Still the same jewelry magnates – Lalitha, Fathima, GRT, Prince, Saravannas and a lot many additions have only made the place busier commercially. Pothys which is synonymous with Sarees now sports a departmental store too. Mum loves departmental stores. It is a place where she can spend hours scrutinizing the price of all commodities and later, figuring out the best and yet pocket friendly ones! And that aspect caught my attention. I have never ever come across the humongous number of departmental stores anywhere in any city! It is as if there is a deluge of these stores under different names such as Ayannar, Payamudhir Cholai and what not! Every street has a departmental store, the size of a mini mall! Guess, the demands have increased with time. Nilgiris is no more the once sought after store as many have lined up to give a competition to it. Considering I was looking at the city this close after a couple of decades, the change was apparent to me, as Grand Sweets of Adayar is no more the sole shop for selling the tastiest and fresh home made snacks 🙂
Madras may have become Chennai – the metro. However for me, there is a corner in my heart that identifies the city with the architectural beauty of Temples, the intoxicating smell of the Malliga poo (jasmine flowers), fresh brewed filter coffee, sweetness of the yellow lobes of ripened jack fruit, the delectable idiyapam with coconut milk of Sangeeta restaurant, the jam packed Ranganathan street and Pondi Bazaar and then, my favorite – Elliot’s beach! Getting drenched in the milky white waves and then sitting on the promenade and munching on some peanut chat laced with pieces of raw mango, I wonder – Have I grown old?
Perhaps, yes! These days, there is a major chunk of population from outside the state and that, makes the city all the more beautiful as, you find the language barriers slowly blurring away in the background. A welcome change actually! And, I plan to travel by metro in my next trip 😀
Well, there is a lot to write about my recent trip……Updates are to follow soon….so watch out this space for more spicy titbits J
Until then, ciao 😀
P.S: *Images have been taken from Google. Did not have time to click any pic. So, penning down my experience to the best of my memory.
**And finally, I get the image below 🙂