Chennai – Slice of Life 1

For the month of May, when the Sun beats down hard on the poor denizens of this city and the most important words are cool, shade and A/C, the intrepid gang of Chennai Metbloggers will still hit the pavement to bring you snippets of the city. On my part, I will bring you verbal vignettes from the everyday folks who make Chennai what it is – a throbbing and thriving metropolis that acts as a magnet for people seeking opportunities and a better life.

I have started posing questions about Madras with the people I interact with on a daily basis – the autorickshaw guy, the woman selling fruits at an intersection near my home, the laundry man, the woman who brings flowers and with my friends, co-workers, relatives and even strangers. I will present their opinions verbatim. This is not a formal survey or a structured interview with people about what they think of their city. This is a first-hand account of words that come straight from their hearts as soon as the question is posed to them – “What do you feel about Chennai?” or its Thamizh equivalent “Chennainnadhum ungaLukku enna thoNudhu?”

Rangan, 41, Autorickshaw Driver:

“Chennainnadhum enkku innaa thoNudhunnaa orey vekkai. Naan auto oattranaala eppovum heat-aa irukkum, vEkkum aanaa savaari easy-aa kedachchudum. Enga paarthaalum eppovum orey sanam adhuvum T.Nagar side-aakka poyittaa veLLeye vara mudiyaadhu, avLo nerisal. Maththapadi enukku innaa pudikkumnaa therukku theru kovil irukkudhu. Periya city-nnaa kooda allaarum saamikku bhayandhu nadakkuraanga. Maththa city paththi paper-la appdi ippdi varudhu aanaakka Sennai paththi kolai, koLLai, karpaLippu ippdi avLovaa illai. Arasiyalvaadhingo enga irundhaalum orey maari dhaan iruppaanunga, avungaLai paththi sollo onnium illai. Inga pozhaikka vandhavanga eppdiyo pozhaichchugunu dhaan irukkaaNuNga. En puLLaingaLai vara school savaari appram ungaLai maari vara savaari idhai vechchugunu dhaan padikka vekkiren. Avangalaachchum nallaa padichchu enna maari auto oattaama, nalla velaila seranumnu aasai.”

Translation: “When I think of Chennai, I think of the excess heat. Since I drive an auto, I always feel the heat and also sweat a lot, but can somehow earn my daily wages. Wherever you turn, there is a sea of people at all times, especially (the shopping areas in) T. Nagar where getting in and out is an ordeal due to the jam-packed traffic. Other than that, what I like about the city is the plethora of temples on every street. In spite of living in a big city, many people are good because they are religious. We read bad things about other cities in the papers but not much of murders, robberies or rapes in Chennai. Politicians will of course be the same everywhere, so there is not much to talk about them. Whoever comes to this city in search of a livelihood is somehow able to survive. I have school-going children, whose expenses I meet by the regular school drops and pick-ups that I have, plus the other passengers like you. My wish is for them to study well and get decent jobs, unlike me.”

8 Comments so far

  1. Chennaiite (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2007 @ 2:28 am

    So, you are the guy!! There has been some news going around that ‘Beware of guys asking strangers about what they think of Chennai etc.’ Hope you dont follow it up with some Amway or Quixtar stuff…..

  2. thetalkativeman (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2007 @ 8:56 am

    Thennavan, good one. Why didn’t you post a couple more views? :-)

  3. Pratheep (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2007 @ 11:02 am

    Tennavan, the same.. Why didn’t you post the rest views?

  4. Rangam Balaji (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

    chennai endrathum thondruvathu, maNakkum malligai,mayakkum carnataka isai,nithiya utsava koilkaL,miratum aaLuyara viLambara posterkaL,kumatta vaikkum coovam,koovi azaikkum theruvora kadaikkaararkaL, ellaaththukkum mela namma idly yum dosai yum thaan Thennava!

  5. Dhans (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2007 @ 7:34 pm

    Chennai endathum ennaku manakara perunthu’than (MTC Bus) ninaivukku varuthu.

    Apart from that i remember some specials of some places
    Anna Nagar – Straight Roads, silent atmosphere
    Arumbakkam – Anna Arch, Thiru-vi-ka park
    Choolaimedu – Mansions, Narrow Nelson Manikam Road
    Nugambakkam – Sasthiri bhavan, Isphani center
    Perambur – unfinshed fly-over, ICF factory
    T Nagar – of-cousre shopping, crowded streets
    Kilpauk – Mental Health Hospital, KMC
    Purasaivakkam – Abirami Mall, Madhar Shah showroom, Shopping

  6. potpourri (unregistered) on May 2nd, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

    chennainadum enakku enna tonardu? ennoda childhood, velayadina friends, school, teachers, colony kulle summer holidaysla cycle ottinadu, collegelendu veetuku varache PTC bussaye oru college bussa maathi loooty adichadu, then IITkku 5Ela poyi thalaile pen(lice) vangindu vandu avasthai pattadu, then office porachey evening 1000 lights stopla bus wait pannadu, kootam pathuttu auto kaarankitte beram pesitu veetukku tiredaa vandadu then amma saapadu oru vettu vettittu sahana pathadu…boyfriend 1 1/2 years oru vaati USlendu vandappo oorsuthinadu :)kalyana receptionkku mele sonna atttthanai gumbalum vandu asathinadu even though it was pouring in june(???)…ellame tonardu!!! innum narayyyya tonardu..

    sorgame endralum adhu namba chennai pola varaadu..

  7. TO potpourri (unregistered) on May 4th, 2007 @ 1:25 pm

    please dont write in your brahmanical tamil…it just sucks..

  8. jillu (unregistered) on May 5th, 2007 @ 9:38 am

    dai mavane POTPOURRI unna janakpurikku panipuri panni parcel panniduvenda language theriyaatha kavodhi.
    (Translation) – If you don’t know the difference between Madras Tamil and Brahmin language and you are a fucked up Brahmin Hater, then shut your foul smelling unbathed gob up and shove it up your…..
    Sucking is probably a cultivated art for people like you!

    41 year old autorickshaw ottunar Rangan? Interesting………

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