My Life, my dreams, my musings……..

July 16, 2009

Musings of a Madrasi—1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Shyamala N. @ 4:12 pm

I remember the times when I was at school, vacations meant an alternate trip to Delhi or Madras. Yes, I prefer calling it Madras. Somehow, I feel, calling it Chennai makes it lose all the quintessence associated with the place and people! Well, I used to associate Madras with the treat usually any north India dweller would jump at…beaches! Having lived mostly in the North, beaches used to entice me, as a child. More than the water itself, it was the sand that attracted me a lot. I used to love collecting the shells. Conch shaped shells, smooth ones, coarse ones…I used to go back home with a huge collection every year! (Pity, I’ve lost them now!). And then, there were the amusement parks. Though I hail from the land which gave India it’s first amusement park, somehow MGM, Little Folks, VGP always fascinated me to the core. Finally, the visits to my relatives’ places. Perimma, Athai(s), Perippas…whew!! This was one tummy-unfriendly affair. My dad and mum, both are the “kadakutties” of their individual families. As a result, whenever we visited our relatives, they used to ensure that we never left their homes, unfed and unattended to! On a normal day, it’s okay, but not when you visit 3 or 4 relatives on the same day!

I grew up in a place called Korba, in Chattisgarh. After 10th, I HAD to change schools. More because of the fact that there was an exodus every year, which, ultimately would mean, stripping my school of my dear mates!!! School for me spelt friends and fun. What use in going to a school where my friends wouldn’t be? So, covering this reason with the noble excuse of “Coaching not very good in 11th and 12th”, I began the most wonderful  sojourn of my life…My Life at Madras. During my childhood days, given a choice between Madras and Delhi, I’d have chosen Delhi any time, any day. Delhi’s where my maternal grandparents lived (and still do, to this day!). They dote on me and my grandmom is the best cook in the world. I say this, and unabashedly so, too, I have never tasted anything better than what my grandmom cooks. Well, so, Delhi had always been my personal preference. One more reason behind this was, most of my paternal relatives lived in Madras, and I was never much close to them. So, coming to Madras and living here for 2 years was a tough decision to make. But you know, it just took me two days and one trip to Anna Nagar to proclaim to the wide, wide world that, “I LOVE MADRAS!”.

There’s something about Madras that attracts you towards the place. You know, like, “Once a Madrasi, always a Madrasi’ kinds. Being a part TamBrahm also has a huge role to play in my love for Madras. Early morning, when you wake up to the sounds of “Kowsalya Supraja Rama” and “Bhajagovindham”, or the smell of Filter Kapi percolating in the filter, the chimes of the temple bells….wow!! I mean, nothing else could mark the start of a wonderful day ahead. My orkut profile says : Religious views : Spiritual but not religious. But somehow, the pealing sounds of the temple bells, early in the morning, makes me smile. A morning in Madras is considered wasted if you do not sip your filter kapi, while reading The Hindu. We Madrasis consider The Hindu to be the ONLY newspaper that exists in India. Call it inflated ego or whatever! In a typical madrasi household, there does not exist the concept of breakfast. We have our lunch by 11:00 am maximum. The concept of  three square meals a day somehow has not taken roots here, yet and I sincerly doubt if it ever will. Tiffin, snacks et al, food on the whole, play a very vast role in the Madrasis’ lives. We love our food! Our snacks are wholesome and delicious. Murukkus, thattais, ribbon pakodas, thenkuzhals…slurrrppp!! We take any course of our meals very seriously. Weddings are a huge thoroughfare in Madras. And a TamBrahm wedding spreads over 3 days, straight. Ahh…what festivities!! It gives me pleasure to think that one fine day, even I’ll be sent off to my In-laws place in such a grandeur!!! 😉 😉

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