madras is my city. madras is my pettai. madras is my everything.
i still find it very hard to call it chennai. there is atleast one moment in a day that i marvel at the awesomeness that is madras. everyone probably has a similar bond with their home city but for me madras is more than just my home city. she has been the constant factor that has truly made me who i am today. (i can assure you, my parents have had a lesser influence on me)
ithu ennoda pettai (this is my turf). i love madras but i am in a committed relationship with anna nagar (AN). i have lived all my life in AN and let me tell you Anna Nagar is pure joy.
all between the Anna Arch and the Thirumangalama junction is MINE. i covet every road, every structure, every pot hole, every shop, every traffic jam, every biryani place, every temple, every mosque, every church and now the shininess that are the Metro Stations.
if we had a beach, AN would be separate city on its own but what i love about AN is also how beautifully it connects to other parts of the city. i am old enough to have seen shanthi colony evolve from an ordinary housing complex street to the most bustling shopper’s haven in AN. i have cried when they wanted to take the Arch down and laughed everyday when they spent crores trying to hold it up while repairs happended. dude, ennagala thoda mudiyathu (you cant touch us!)
many will argue that the language spoken in north madras, is the original dialect of madras. i agree. however to me, madras tamil is any and all tamil that is spoken here. vandaarai vaazhavaikkum madras (we welcome and nurture everyone in madras). i love how every person who has come to chennai – from the british raj to the recent migrants – have contributed words to the vocabulary and continue to do.
no mater how much negativity you spew, madras autorickshaws rock! \m/
some may charge you the moon, meter irukku, meter illa, meter mela 20, but as a girl raised in this city, let me tell you with certainty – i have NEVER felt unsafe in an auto. NEVER!
your ubers and olas may have air conditioning and be the fad now, but for me it’s always the auto. they know every road, the history of every lane/name change and will even be willing to share the information with you for free.
i have traveled in auto in several other cities, no one is as polite or as safe as namma madras auto anna!
the food in madras is like 5s – everything has a place and everything in its place. enna illa? (what dont we have?) we have the native best to regional, national and international imports. we may spend the moolah on high end restaurants, fancy cafe and get fat on cold stone ice cream, but when we hit the beach it is maanga, cholam and sundal (mangoes, corn and fried gram), it may be butter popcorn at satyam cinemas but when i return to madras after long travels, i always hit the kaiyenthi bhavan first thing (roadside food shops). we gave the world chicken 65. NEVER forget.
atleast 90% of madrasi will themselves curse the weather. but i LOVE the madras weather. i am a hot weather kind of girl and prefer the rain just to quench the thirst. our “winters” are mild and enjoyable too. madras suits me perfectly! i find it super convenient that i can sun dry my clothes 8/12 months! the rain makes my city so bad. like bad makeup coming off. so i much prefer her in the summers and winters!
the second most powerful film industry in the country with an international reach that has evaded most other industries! i LOVE kollywood. i love it with all its awesomeness, drama, emotion and flaws! bollywood and hollywood may spend unimaginable money on their movies and promotions but tamil movies always rule the roost for me.
unga himalaya vida enga annamalai perusu. unga kovil sandai vida enga aandavar perusu (rajnikanth stands taller than himalayas and kamal haasan is worthier to fight over than building any temple.
no offense, but when you shop in other major cities in india, you get pretty much native stuff – junk jewellery, caual clothes or slippers, faux bags and accesories so native to the city. madras appadi illa (madras is not like that)
you can shop in cotton street (pantheon road), go to mint street/sowcarpet to get authentic north indian styles, hit t.nagar for typical south indian attire and the myriad of shops that cater from pyjamas to western wear! i do so very very much miss the OLD pondy bazaar. and paris corner/broadway can get you stationery supplies that aren’t even on amazon!