The Namesake*

I heard this little tidbit of information a long time ago. But I’m not sure how many people know:

* Chennai was formerly called Madras. (No surprise there)
* Madras is a city in Oregon. (Surprise! Surprise!)
* It was supposedly named after the checked cloth that was sourced from Madras, India.

So the next time someone calls you a “Madrasi,” you know what to do. :)

*With my sincerest apologies to Jhumpa Lahiri.

5 Comments so far

  1. rads (unregistered) on March 29th, 2006 @ 7:21 pm

    Yes! The very first time I saw a mention of ‘madras’ in the west is in a Wal-mart ad – Madras check shirts! I naturally assumed they were named after where they were coming from, felt quite good! And then when google came up, googled a bunch o others and discovered there was a ‘madras’ , a ‘salem’ in USA too!

    I miss madras so much [can’t bring myself to call it Chennai-ol timer u see!] and am so glad blogs make it possible to still get a first-hand version. Thank you so mucho!
    Lavanya’s sambar and buckets was so nostalgic and funny :-)

  2. Karthik (unregistered) on March 29th, 2006 @ 8:56 pm

    I heard someone telling that Madras was the short version of Mad Rascals – referring to the people living there. Felt offended and never used that name again.

  3. arZan (unregistered) on March 30th, 2006 @ 4:04 am

    There are three Madras’ in the US.

    Madras, Georgia
    Madras, Texas
    Madras, Oregon

  4. AFJ (unregistered) on March 30th, 2006 @ 1:50 pm


    RADS: Thanks so much! We love Madras too! So glad that you could drop by. Do come again!

    Karthik: Mad Rascals? Woooah! Never heard that one! You know it could be just some people who make up clever names AFTER they are aleady there! Don’t take it to heart!

    Arzan: 3 Madrases??? That is something I never knew! Thanks for the info!

  5. Ram (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 11:47 pm


    I had a post way back in Nov 04 on the name Madras,
    Check the Post

    And around that time the Wiki link on Madras was

    I came across the word in the Movie “The Outsiders”

    By the Way
    Madras is also a name of a Drink with Vodka, Orange Juice and Cranberry Juice


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