My Life, my dreams, my musings……..

July 17, 2009

Musings of a Madrasi-2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Shyamala N. @ 1:48 pm

You’ve not seen or experienced Madras if you’ve not shopped in T.Nagar. Wow!! Nothing gives a better kick than buying two bags full of stuff, without even a slight dent in your pocket! Of course, the durability of such stuff is dubious, but then, who cares??? You just go wading through the crowds and get jostled and trampled upon, but never, not even once does the idea of leaving strikes you. The above description is subject to planetary differences. I am talking strictly about Venusians. They don’t make shopaholics in Mars, you see. There is absolutely no means to differentiate the crowd that’s overflowing from the shops, and the one which is walking on the streets. And come “Aadi”, we put off everything else and shopping takes priority. Reason? The Aadi discount. The thing is, during Aadi one is now supposed to buy anything new. Marriage talks are put on abeyance in this season. But, but…the various shops play to their advantages. Practically everything’s on a sale in this season. Mobile phones, laptops, clothes, electrical appliances…you get a flat 5-50% off on anything you can lay your hands on. Who can resist such an offer? So we throng onto the shops, from 9 to 9 and come out with heavier hands and lighter purses, but most importantly, a smile of content on our faces. 🙂 . By the way, I bought my Nokia 7500 on Aadi sale only…got it for Rs.3000 less than the MRP!!!

Madras boasts of a beautiful blend of the old and the new. We have the aatukkal and the Wi-fi. Grandmothers use ammis while talking to their grandchildren on their mobiles. We have Dakshinchitra and Tidel Park. Automobile industries, IT Industries…you name it, we have it. We are the land of the Valluvar Kottam and Thousand Lights’ Mosque and the Fort St.George. Our proximity to the sea has given us the title of “Gateway to South India”. Madras’s climate is quite interesting; we have three climates like any other North Indian state, just that we call ours “Hot, Hotter and the Hottest”. You’ll find this fact interesting about us Madrasis. When we see a co-Madrasi, we talk to each other in English. I have no clue why we do so, but we  do so!! Ahh…how can I forget Tamizh, the language of us Madrasis! Tamizhukku amudham endru paeru”– Tamizh is known to be the nectar amongst all languages. Life is a celebration for us Madrasis, and most fascinatingly, so is death. Had it been our way, we’d have festivals all the 365 days.

Madras is a wonderful melange of different cultures. The agraharams of West Mambalam co-exist with the posh Nungambakkam. We are simpletons at heart. Yes, our auto-drivers charge 3 times the actual fare, but we mean no harm otherwise. Our MTC buses are by far the best networked ones. You can go to any A from any B, thanks to our meticulous bus networks. Our local trains are not as crowded as the Mumbai ones, so you definitely will get a seat. We have Hotel Saravana Bhavans and Anjappars sprinkled at all places; I’ve told you- we take our food seriously. In all, we the Madrasis are wonderful people to be with and to mingle with. 🙂

On a serious note, Madras is not just about the filter kapis or the bhavans and saagars which are so conspicuous on almost all the streets. Being a Madrasi is not just about speaking Tanglish or Engineelish , or being on a shopping spree all through the Aadi Maasam. There’s more to it. We are the harbinger of an age-old culture, of an ancestral pride which is called Tamil Nadu. We still hold on to our orthodox ways, and derive comfort from that. Change as we might, there are some things about the Tamil Culture (and the Tamil Platter too, which gives Pizza and pasta and Chowmein a run for their money :P) which keeps us rooted firmly to the grounds so carefully harnessed by our forefathers. No matter if Amma rules or Kalaignar, no matter if more Cognizants and Tatas sprawl in the city,  no matter the name changes from Madras to Chennai, we remain Madrasis to the core! Vaazhga India, Valarga Tamizh!!

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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