Since last week, I have been wondering what I should write about the letter D as part of my A to Z countdown project. I came up with several options like “Daring or not ?”, “Dear Daughter & Daughter-in-law”,”Dollhouse”,”Dance styles of India” and few more. But when I started writing, automatically the words changed and so the title. I was born in southern part of India in a place called Madras later renamed as Chennai.Today, this city has been celebrating 375th birthday and I was like, “Okay, let me write about Madras today”.What is good , bad,emotional,nostalgic and frustrating about this place from my own experience and not from the Google or Wikipedia. And as I was ,raised in that city and lived continuously for 27 years, I’m very much qualified to give my comments.
What I love about this city ?
1. Of course, I was born here and nothing more nostalgic and emotional about the way one feels about the birth place
2. The Beaches:
Who hates beaches? This city lies on the southeast coast of India , has a sea port and is home to many sea animals. During my childhood, the beach was the only place I visited during the weekends apart from going to the restaurants. Madras has the second longest beach in the world and the first most memorable place I was ever taken to. Right from spending the time with my parents, childhood friends ,”from-the-heart” discussions with the BFFs to losing 10 pounds of weight after only jogging on the beach(and cutting down the junk food).Beach has given me more memories and whenever the waves hit me on the feet they answered all my questions.I regret that I should have asked more questions.It goes without saying that when I visited the Aloha state last month, the Waikiki beach answered the riddle of my life.I will write the answer in another post.
3.The Land of temples and architecture
Thanks to the kings and other rulers that built beautiful temples and crafted the entire city with excellent architecture.But for the government and other slight damages, the architecture of the temples are sure to be cherished. They are so beautiful and unique. So whenever I felt sad or lonely, I used to visit these temples not only for admiring the architecture but also to get some divine blessings.
Music has been always the heart and soul of this city.But the classical Carnatic music is the legend here. Every child born in this city is bound to learn music (may not become experts) but yes, I too learned Carnatic music and few musical instruments.As a remembrance of my music classes, I have a tattoo inspired by music.Such is the love of music and the city.
5. Filter coffee:
Madras is known for its traditional filter coffee made from the ground coffee seeds, hot water, and fresh milk.This filter coffee and “The Hindu” newspaper every morning had been the tradition here for ages.Of course, the paper has degraded because of corrupt practices, but the filter coffee remains and so the combination.Whenever I visit home, I grab a hard copy of this newspaper and have a cup of coffee while enjoying early morning breeze on the balcony.
Not to mention, the classical dance play a lot more prominence in Madras. Even I was a jack here but couldn’t be in the race as I was more towards the nerd’s side rather than the arts.I love watching the dance and the way the dancers look when they perform. The costume and the makeup are too good .
I’m more of a breakfast fan of Madras rather than the other meals. I feel the breakfast here doesn’t taste as yummier than elsewhere in this planet.I’m not trying to exaggerate but this is what my palette said.The breakfast is usually made from the ingredients like rice flour, lentils,coconut,oil,etc.They are called idly, dosa, medu vadai, and the side dishes being sambar and chutney varieties .Usually, the breakfast starts and ends with the filter coffee.
8.Not many caste crooks:
Many people are aware of the fact that India is divided based on the reservation- caste, creed, language, etc.What I love about this city is unlike few other cities in India that is so much into the caste. And the funny thing is in those cities they love their film stars or sports people or politicians only when they belong to their caste.I have not seen such stupidity here.People adore talent and not caste.All the religions are equally treated and practised too.
9. Public transport:
Public transport is available everywhere and anywhere in the city.The public buses and the
local trains ply to and from almost every corner of the city and the suburbs at a reasonable
price. I could survive in this city without owning a vehicle for all my 27 years of my existence there.
When the city was in crisis due to floods last year and the government had no show in their duties, the people of Chennai and the neighbouring cities came forward and helped the fellow Chennaites. They say do not underestimate the power of a common man in democracy and it holds true.Man-man help was rendered when no one came forward.This kind of help happened even when I wanted 12 years ago. I was thankful to all my colleagues and friends who came forward and helped me when I was in crisis then.
What I hate about this city ?
If I love something does not mean that I blindly love, I do love holistically accepting the faults and take them along with love.Here is my small list.
1. Cleanliness: This city is the most dirtiest city ever visited. The municipal corporation workers are made to over work, thus losing their efficiency meanwhile the citizens not
cooperating to this ideal.We were just taught in school about cleanliness is next to Godliness but no one acts.No action has been taken in spite of rising series of complaints.
2.Bad roads:The roads are very narrow and prone to many accidents. The roads have dents and the man holes are not closed appropriately.Absolutely zero road maintenance with an addition of pavement trash. Can I blame the government or the democracy here?This makes the traffic condition, even more worse .The working population has more of a road-life balance than personal-life balance after work.
3.Inflation: Living in this city is expensive for the quality they provide.Artificially the land values had been inflated in the last 20 years thus making this city not affordable to many and the manufacturing units have been moved out due to non-friendly tax levies.
4. Groups: I was born and raised there ,I speak the Tamil Language like my native language and I’m so fluent.Despite all this, people do not accept me as a Chennaite that much since my mother tongue is Telugu.Telugu belongs to the states Andhra and Telangana .I have been treated like an outsider many times.This is not my personal comment, many others faced these issues too. If you want to be part of those groups my suggestion is “Never expand your last name.” That was the mistake I made for the alienation. The last names reveal so much about the mother tongue.
In a nutshell, these hate points had never outperformed the good points of this city.Thus making Chennai my favorite cities I have ever lived.