In less than a month, I had made a couple of visits to Chennai. The last visit over the weekend pushed me to write a blog post on this wonderful city. First things first, Chennai is a very likeable city. Pretty much like Bangalore. But someone should ensure that its people behave while supporting the Chennai Super Kings and its weather behaves, then Chennai easily is my second most favorite city in India after Bangalore (of course). And wait, stop envying Bangalore also. Okay?
Chennai has got its beaches, the Marina , the VGP Golden, Besant Nagar (there may be a few more). And the Marina is one huge beach. I remember learning from my Quizzing days that it is the second longest beach in the world. Chennai owes so much to Marina, for it is Marina which saved Chennai from the gigantic Tsunami waves. Marina nullified the effect of Tsunami to less than 40%.
Marina is Chennai’s pride. I’ve always cherished my evening strolls here. The small snack stalls here are just not be missed. I’ve heard about the giant screens that they install here for screening India’s crunch cricket matches. I can’t even think of how electrifying the atmosphere would be then.
My favourite place in Chennai is Mylapore because that’s where I spend most my time during the course of stay here. The Maami- Ambi culture of Mylapore impresses me. Be it the Maami Kada Dosa near the Kapaleshwar temple or the Mada Veedhi shops surrounding the area. The Maami Kada Dosa is the second most delicious dish in the world (after of course Mom’s recipes). There are ample number of vegetarian eateries around. So, get ready for a tryst with the taste buds here. Quite understandably, you’ll barely find a non-veg restaurant in the vicinity.
Mylapore is home to a lot of sacred-thread fellows. Curd rice is the secret of their energy. They are the real all rounders. Their mannerisms might puzzle us. Take out The Hindu Newspaper, Carnatic Music classes, Quizzing, Cricket chatters and Rajnikanth from their life, they’ll ponder over the purpose of their very own existence. Here’s the career path of 90% of them: CBSE–>IIT–>MS–>America Maplai (Bridegroom)–>Attains Moksha.
Don’t show your face to any of the fifty year olds here, without having acquired a Master of Sciences degree from some frigging University in USA. You might be the CEO of a million dollar company or an author dishing out a hand full of best sellers but without the MS, you’re nothing. Do you still harbour any doubt on MS Dhoni’s huge fan following in this part of the country? This is the reason. A frigging MS. As in the case of MS Swaminathan. MS Subbulakshmi. MS Vishwanathan. MS. MS. MS.
What else in Chennai? The textile kingdoms in T Nagar. In terms of style and fashion, though the Chennai-ites are a tad behind the other metros, the likes of Pothys and Chennai Silks have a pretty impressive selection of garments, especially the Sarees. I have heard that Chennai isn’t a party-hopping lot, though I’ve heard that a few pubs and discos have come up owing to the IT companies which have sprung up in different parts of the city.
When you throw a stone in Bangalore, the probability of hitting a software engineer is more. But try throwing it in Chennai, it’s a fair chance that it might hit an engineering student. There are umpteen number of engineering colleges and arts colleges here. Mind you those are damn good ones. No city in the country gives as much importance to education as Chennai does. Still wondering why Chennai is considered to be one of the most knowledgeable cricket crowds? Chennai-ites are an educated lot. Don’t judge them merely by their fascination for Vijayakanth movies, okay?
So, don’t expect to go to Chennai to party or to hang out in the Malls. Chennai is a different city. It’s orthodox (except for Krishnamachari Srikanth). It knows a lot of stuffs (ask its quizzers). It has got its Masala Dosas to bowl you over. It is crazy about its film stars. It takes a lot of pride in talking about the power of N.Srinivasan. And it doesn’t shy away from taking a dig at Bangalore, more than often.