Archive for June, 2006

Lunch at Hotel Maris

I am hardly an eat-out person and prefer simple, home-cooked meals with the occasional kalyaana saappaadu for indulgence (which is also possible only during my India visits). So, it is a rarity for me to do a restaurant review. But here I go. Today being the birthday of my sister-in-law, we all decided to go out for lunch and went to Hotel Maris, which was recommended by one of our family friends.

The restaurant which is only vegetarian is “traditional” in many ways – they serve food on a plantain leaf, the waiters hover around you to serve sambhar, rasam etc. like in a typical marriage pandhi, the decor is old-world with a pale green shade on the walls and the tables and chairs are also spartan. The cost per person at the rupee equivalent of a dollar was not too expensive but they did not serve anything extra other than a sarkarai pongal for a sweet item. I saw that there were only two wash-basins and did not see any restrooms.

What I also noticed with interest were pencil sketches of prominent Chennai landmarks that were framed on the walls. While I could not capture every one of those with my digicam (unless I was leaning over the tables of hungry lunch-eaters, with unpredictable consequences), luckily the wall right beside our table had the one landmark that “a die-hard Chennai-loving Indian Blogger” would have liked (thanks to my brother who pointed it to me in the first place). Guess what?




The low-lying Perambur bridge, the one where the controversial flyover is being built, connects Ayanavaram to Perambur. This bridge not only connects areas but also connects Tamil Chennai to the predominantly Anglo-Indian pocket in Perambur. Once you cross that bridge and take a left turn, you realize how different Chennai suddenly feels. You hear English music from screechy old players, you see Uncle John, in his really old suspenders, sitting outside with a pipe, wearing a hat that reminds you of Mr.Holmes. You hear someone shout out, “what child, early for school?”

Chennai Now


It doesnt feel like 87 F. It feels like Heaven.

Small Problem

“A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: Short enough to rouse interest, and long enough to cover the essentials.”- Delicate, aint it.. Im blessed with a few people/friends who speak like that (They dont wear mini skirts anyway…).

Whats the point.. ? Well, I hear that mini-skirts in Schools have become an issue of concern and are going to be added to the perpetual “Knock it off” list the Academic Superpowers have in their hand. Someday they are going to issue a Ban on parents. “Parents are a main reason for concentration loss. So students are adviced not to encourage parents having conversations with them.” (Probably this is there in some school already).

These are some issues that teachers can directly take it up with students, and solve it then and there. You see some girl who is wearing a dangerously Mini (micro, you may say) skirt, you could talk it over her and dictate some terms. The problem comes when teachers and prinicipals (and Vice Chancellor in some cases) try to be over-smart. And students on the other hand make too much fuss about it, and behave as if Oxygen was denied.

I wish they spend these times to think about techniques to educate. The results in the last Higher Secondary exams, reflected the standards of the teachers. Same question papers for all these years, and we had a lot of centums. One syllabus change, and students score all time low. Attend those injuries first. We will cover the thigh later.

One suggestion to teachers. Dont ask the students to study for exams. Teach them. That will do. And dont waste time framing laws against mini-skirts.

Dear students, if this ban comes, abide. Dont agitate. Unnecessary.


I went out yesterday morning to buy some beer. Before the state government took over the liquor business, one could enter a respectable place and choose from a fairly wide selection of Indian liquor (no wine, though, even though there is quite decent Indian wine, and even though liquor stores are called Wine Shops).

Now, though, the liquor stores are filthy, with only the cheapest brands on sale, and are apparently intended to convey the message that if you keep alcohol in your home you are destined for one of the lower circles of hell. Drink in hotels or clubs (independent restaurants aren’t allowed to sell alcohol): fine. Drink at home: hell.

Indian Roulette anyone?

You’ve heard of Russian Roulette, played by stressed out soldiers in Vietnam, and drunken mercenaries in the rough spots of the world to prove themselves. Load a Colt .45 that takes six bullets with one, spin the chamber and hold the barrel against your temple and pull the trigger. If, by chance, the spinning bullet chamber stops at the one which has the bullet, you die instantaneously. It’s the highest stake gamble that you can think of.

Don’t write-off Bangalore

Thus spake the Express.

“Of course in the present times, Bangalore is plagued with several problems the country’s IT hub has several inherent advantages which outscore over other IT destinations in the sub-continent. As mentioned, before the air conditioned like climate has always boasted of good intellectual resources with large presence of engineering colleges comparatively low cost of living, better living conditions, law and order and to top it all the industry friendly government.”

As expected, Chennai is completely out of the picture. Inspite of Thennavan’s warning post, atleast the MSM does seem to ignore (and I quote) the Capital of India’s Second largest IT Exports state.

Singara Chennai

The DMK had declared a program for ‘Singara Chennai’ the last time they were in power in the state. Some work was done, but we didn’t make appreciable progress towards their goal of making Chennai like the city state. Having just returned from Singapore, the advances they have made in the last two years (I was there last in May 2004) is visible and appreciable.

Light House , Water Tank and a Ladder

While in A C College during 1971-76, we were residing at Linghi Chetty Street. As it was a joint family, there were cousins and uncles and constant visits of friends and relatives. Studying calmly at home was not possible then. Me and Kannan, a friend who was studying in College of Engineering, Guindy found a place to study away from home. That was Madras High Court Campus at Parrys Corner. The place was about 5 minutes walking distance from our house.

Light Houses (Old), Chennai

At the send off

A friend of mine was leaving town recently. So I went to send him off. He wasn’t leaving till 11:30 in the night, yet we reached the place early for various reasons. So we were chatting up, I wishing him well, and a safe journey. He asking me to take care and the usual friend’s chat.

But what surprised me was even at that hour, the place was full of people. People who had come to send their friends and loved ones off, people who had come to receive other people. People milling about, people having a cup of coffee and talking to officials with a worried look on their face. Crowds, like the ones in T Nagar. At 11:00 PM. A bunch of people had spread blankets on the floor, made a makeshift bed with their bags and were blissfully sleeping. Perhaps their departure wasn’t anytime soon.

So, what’s the big deal? You see this everyday in the Train Stations of India. Crowds are a feature of the Chennai Central station. A very important feature. Except…

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