Nine things I love about the city

Without much ado, here they are:

1. Loving Tamil

I love it when people around me speak the same language I do. The year I spent in Hyderabad, I always felt like an alien because I had to struggle with my rustic Hindi. Thankfully, auto drivers were polite to me. Often I would long to speak Tamil at home and all my four roommates back then were Malayalees. Chennai became second home to me largely because its population is on the same page I am.

2. Movies in multiplexes

I was ecstatic when the state government passed the order asking multiplexes not to price movie tickets beyond Rs 120 in Chennai. This is the only order passed by MK that I love him for. My movie addiction is much lesser than what it used to be, but at least my fledging film reviewing career is taking off thanks to the multiplexes, especially Satyam. I recently read how Satyam overprices its popcorn to subsidise the ticket. I love that. I don’t have to buy popcorn to watch a movie despite all the rubbish about how the both go together.

3. Roasting in the sun

I actually love the city’s climate. If it rains around the year, I would feel blue. I know the Chennai climate-haters well and why they love to hate the heat here. But for me, the summers, and lately, the extended monsoons are a continuing source of joy.

4. Marina in the morning

I love Marina at 4 am. Sometimes after my night shifts, I walk to the beach from my house in Triplicane. Winding my way up Triplicane’s dirty streets has a pay off in the end. At that hour, you can’t quite see the beach. You just know it’s there. Sometimes you can catch the surf. It needs someone with more than my vocabulary to tell you how this feels. I might make it corny.

5. Piracy

Everything, they say, is fake in cities and true and genuine in villages. For once, the fakes are better and cheaper that the real thing. My hometown of Nagercoil is no more a virgin market when it comes to piracy, especially MP3s, but no one there yet sells DVDs of Korean and Iranian films. You got to love Chennai for its rampant piracy. Well, at least you got to love piracy because a Sony movie on DVD costs Rs 600. Moser Baer yet doesn’t have a good collection.

6. Food

I love the food here. It’s always good value for money. Eatalica, French Loaf, Murugan Idly Shop, and the scores of Andhra messes and Kaiyendhi Bhavans in and around Triplicane are my favourite haunts. I fell in love with Idly in Chennai something I continue to be embrassed about. I used to fuss about that back home.

7. Bloggers

For a while, Chennai was the blogging capital of India. I don’t know who started that rumour, but even if that claim isn’t true anymore, there are bloggers here, and a lot of them. I have met a few offline and they are funnier and often genuine, articulate people. After helping to organize the first blog camp, the Roof Top Film Festivals, and the blogger meets at my place, I realise I love my fellow bloggers in the city as much I love blogging itself. One of the last things I did was go on a photowalk. For some stuck with a desk job, a photowalk can be a lively thing, and it certainly was for me.

8. Steeped in culture

Every city is defined by its culture more than its politics or climate. Perhaps only geography defines cities as much as culture. Like Hawaii is defined by its proximity to the beach, Chennai is defined by its culture, which even at its most degraded and corrupt is still something to soak in. So city-like and I love it. When I was in Thiruvanmaiyur, it was a thrill catching girls driving bikes with the Salangai still tied to their legs.

9. Hangouts

Then there are the hangouts. Like Amethyst, which is a palace, and clothes stores like Fab Mall (where I haven’t bought a thing) and West Side. Books stores like Landmark and Odyssey. Cinema Paradiso. You really can find a thousand places like that in Chennai. Some of them are big brands and are probably present across cities. But I will always associate West Side with Chennai and my shopping experience of the city. I am sure you have a couple of places you love. May be the teashop down the road?

For the lack of time, I end my story here. You are welcome to add your list. Just make it personal, if at all that has to be told to you.

7 Comments so far

  1. niranjanasu on March 18th, 2008 @ 2:56 am

    You got to add the unique experience of Pallavan (For old timers!) and the train journeys.

  2. dilip on March 18th, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

    Not to forget the Auto Karans who charge 80 rupees from velachery to tidel park.

  3. randramble on March 20th, 2008 @ 7:24 pm

    Good piece. But liking piracy and liking Chennai for piracy is plain bad!

  4. nandhu on March 25th, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

    niran, dilip – u gotta make a list of em. not just one shot in the dark.

    randramble, i am not going to be politically correct over here. so there. i really dont see who loses if i see a pirated copy of a bergman film.

  5. dilip on March 25th, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

    Nandu, here is a small list (due to lack of time)…

    1. I hate it how all physically challenged people drive with "2 wheeler" on their RC book of modified "invalid carriages" devoid’ing them of all insurance even though they pay insurance and road tax.

    2. I hate it how public places in Chennai that have setups running late into the night switch off their elevators and escalators at 9.30 PM. (eg., Spencer’s plaza and city center plaza)

    3. I hate it how cops always address people dis-respectively as "nee", "vaa", "po", "da" unless they figure out they are influential people like cops, press, politicians, thugs where the "saaar", "vaango saar", "ponga saar" kind of ass licking happens. This is not so prevalent in other cities, say Bangalore where police men are more respectably treating their average on the road citizens.

    4. I hate it how moral policing by cops goes to enormous proportions in this city. They pull up women in a disco and tell them its not good for them to drink, leaving underage girls to go Scot free because if they were arrested people would question law & order in the city.

    5. I hate it how auto rickshaw people demand shit loads for places even so nearby. Give all the damn excuses you want, auto rent, prices, maintenance, fuel costs this NEVER happens in Bangalore which is hardly 400 kms from Chennai. Same Indian system, same fucked up cops, same poor administration, 1 rupee lesser fuel cost (I think) and same maintenance (even worse for front engine auto’s) problems.

    I can add more but these are more or less the average issues that bother everyone including me and you on a daily basis.

    P.S. i love how chennai metblogs is now devoid of nasty trolls like before and the blogging is more interactive. Nice work mate!

  6. raghavr on March 26th, 2008 @ 2:59 am

    very nice indeed! but I got to agree, liking Chennai for the Piracy… not good.. :)

    Stuff I love about Chennai.. a short list (given paucity of time)

    1. Ah! the look & smell of Chennai just after it rains.. almost like the city has been washed down, and everything is being seen in a new light! the wonderful trees, and the roads and the buildings..

    2. Got to talk about Marina again.. except perhaps I like it better in the night! to go there and sit after 11.00 pm, and wash the lighthouse sweep across your line of sight.. the sand, the sea with it’s own noises.. although it used to be a lot cleaner then!

    3. MAC Cricket ground — when I was young, it would often be the best of that year to go watch a cricket match at the MAC grounds.. whether it be an International game or just a match between 2 really good school/ college teams.. the wonderful grass, the pitch, and the crowd! quite unique in their well reasoned commentary on the game..

    4. Ayappan Kovil – Mahalingapuram – now, I’m not religous at all, but there was something special about this temple. It’s located in a wonderfully old style street, and it is so clean and beautiful inside & out!

    5. Loyola college grounds — need I say more?

    6. Chennai Central – distinctive.. everytime I took a trip by train, just seeing the outline of the station building as we approach it, it was just something else. magnificent!

    7. Paramount Hotel, Presidency Club, Ponnusamy, Opal Inn, Nungambakkam High Road! dudes.. I could keep going.. I’d rather stop now.

  7. கில்லி - Gilli » Blog Archive » Nine things I love about the city - Nandhu Sundaram (pingback) on April 13th, 2008 @ 7:55 am

    […] இந்த மாதிரி சொல்லிட்டு ‘அக்னி நட்சத்திர’மும் பிடிக்கும் பிடிக்கும் என்கிறார். […]

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.