Show some love for Madras !

I have always had a soft corner for Madras. I remember when I first read in the news that the name has been changed to Chennai, how I reacted - with fierce determination, that as long as possible, I will call my birth town Madras - there's a strong emotion there which Chennai can't replace.

A lot of people, find Madras a 'not that great' a place to stay or visit. And every time someone comes and tells me, 'Oh Chennai, nothing to do there. And the water is too salty', I roll my eyes just a little. I used to go every summer to my Nani's place in Puruswalkam and she would be obliged to make me aam ras, every day of the summer. And that's when my love for this city began !

Just a few of my favourite and dear memories !
  • Walking on Marina beach, eating Sundal ( with extra raw mango ) and some bhajiyas, and on the way back, stopping at Woodlands Drive-In on Cathedral Road for a quick dinner. Pity the place closed down - or rather was made to close down for constructing a botanical garden. Sigh.
The beach has many of these rides, I used to love them.

  • Driving all the way to Besant Nagar and going to Elliot's beach - less crowded than Marina but more cleaner and you can just sit here for hours.
The silence of the sunset

  • Taking a bus and going to Vandalur zoo - a little far, but such a nice way to spend an entire day. I remember this particular memory where our entire family had reached Tambaram from where we would get direct buses to Vandalur when it suddenly started to rain. I was so bummed, but my very cool nana convinced us all to still go - and oh my, if you're going on a rainy day, the zoo is even better !
  • Taking a quick detour and after making pleading faces with the mother for a fresh juice, going to Fruit Shop - then there were very few or probably only at Greams Road. Now there are many.
  • I used to get very excited when we did shopping from Pantheon Road - hundreds of patterns of cloth all rolled into thick bundles, neatly displayed for us customers. The vendors had small street side kiosks and it was the first time that I saw so much of cloth at one go.
  • Sowcarpet ! Yes, I loved this place. The many sights, sounds and smells that this market produced ! You can get almost anything here, from saree lace to clay pots, from ripe Alphonso mangoes in wooden crates to spices, and every 5 minutes, you'll find a vendor calling to you for some chaat, jalebis or samosas ! 
Small terracotta diyas being sold

My mother always told me to not step into these coloured melons on
the road, else somebody's buri nazar could harm you.

  • Going to The British Library on Mount Road - an uncle suggested we go and see the library - and me and my sister fell in love with this. You could sit for hours and read their books, only instruction being you have to be pin drop silent !
  • A million trips to Spencer Plaza, and yet I would still want to go there again. It was my first mall experience, and I used to love roaming around this gigantic space. This place, though it lost it's sheen over the years, will always be special to me.
The famed Spencer Plaza; I particularly liked the Landmark here,

  • The Dadavadi Jain temple - we have been going to this place for as long as I can remember and this place, along with almost every other place I have mentioned, has metamorphosed tremendously. However, I have had many amazing evenings here. Collecting the fallen imlis and collecting shiny red seeds (Circassian seeds or Jumbie seeds or Manjadikuru) and running around in the shade of the huge tamarind and neem trees was how we had fun !
  • Eating at Saravana Bhavan and Hotel Annapoorna - They were always crowded - be it tea time or early lunch. I enjoyed the dosas there - and no other Saravana Bhavan outside Tamil Nadu matches up !
  • You would find many beautiful temples with amazing carvings and they're all so colourful ! I used to marvel at these temples, there was one at Puruswalkam itself. 

Smaller  versions of those huge lovely temples, this too, you'd find
 on many street corners.

I have so many more memories. Crocodile park, Mahabalipuram, Satyam Cinemas, Ispahani Mall and more recently, the pizzas from Tuscana, 10 Downing Street (10D), Express Avenue Mall to name a few. The instant connection you feel when someone calls you acca is also a nice feeling ! Ah well, I am always going be giving descriptive and long answers if someone whines again saying 'Oh Chennai, nothing to do there'.

This was another favourite. I could barely hold the gun as a kid,
and I would still try !
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4 comments

  1. There's something so nice about Chennai. When I was there for a work tour, I loved walking throug the streets to soak the city in.

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    1. I totally agree, there's a beautiful nostalgic feeling I get every time I visit the place. Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

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  2. Each city in India has its own charm and vibrancy...thumbs up to namma Madras...coz i was there!

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    1. True Sunita, different cities can evoke different responses ! Thanks for visiting my blog !

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