Quintessential Chennaiites

Wanna Come.

My name is Krish Ashok, and I will be hurling all forms of nouns, verbs, adjectives, disjointed similes, questionable metaphors and thanni-illaa-kaadukku-transferred epithets at you, the Chennai Metblogs reader, from now. Why, you ask? Because I’ve been invited to hurl aforementioned items at unsuspecting readers of this blog. That is of course, reason #1. Reasons #2 through infinity go “I am strangely attached to this city, from the Kaiyendhi Bhavan outside Brilliant Tutorials to the strangely unreadable “Music Academy” lettering spelled using musical instruments that only partially resemble alphabets inside that venerable hall of Carnatic virtuosity and elitist pomposity. I love the fact that this city has 2 meteorological seasons – hot summer and lukewarm summer, two commercial seasons – pandigai (festival) shopping and thallupadi (discount) shopping, and 2 cultural seasons – The Carnatic season and The Rest of The Year.”

And it has some quintessential residents. And I don’t mean the celebrities like chess grandmasters, actors/actresses and music composers. I am talking about those people that every one in Chennai knows and yet, they are not celebrities in that sense of the word. They don’t live in palatial houses in Poes Garden or Besant Nagar and they are not on TV all the time or featured in The Hindu every other day. Here are three of them that come to mind.

1) P James
Legend has it there were 2 copies of the Rosetta stone. One in Egypt, found in 1799 during the Egyptian campaign of Napoleon. The other, unknown one is said to have been unearthed in Chennai, but was considered to be of no use because of some graffiti scribbed in black ink.


I have known P James from when his ubiquitous grafitti used to read “P James” followed by a 5 digit phone number. It then became 6 digits and eventually a mobile phone number. I have even had the opportunity to watch a show of his a long while back. He is not quite PC Sorcar, but a kindly old man who could impress the rare breed of kids who could still be impressed about anything, what with TV, video games and the internet changing the very definition of the term “childlike wonder”. But I am told he tried forming a company to promote his own brand of magic shows and that more or less ruined him financially.

2) Asana Andiappan
The yoga guru, with a name to match.
Asana Andiappan greets you with folded arms and a leg that seems to be conducting a conversation with his head after having twisted itself around his neck. He is rather famous and he even has a spiffy website!.

3) The Non-laughing dudes of Golden Beach
Many years ago, a cousin of mine came very close to making one of these gentlemen laugh, but at the very last moment, the man let out an aggressive grunt meant to scare my cousin and proceeded to walk off his pedestal while his replacement took his place. Apparently his shift had ended. Have any of you managed to make one of them laugh?

So readers, who else comes to mind?

12 Comments so far

  1. sachin (unregistered) on December 14th, 2007 @ 1:45 am

    Somehow feel your article could have been better written.

    As far as quintessential non limelight and non poes garden chennaites are concerned the list is just too big… and many stalwarts in very divrse fields that i would place in much higher regard.

  2. sachin (unregistered) on December 14th, 2007 @ 1:47 am

    u have some good stuff on ur peronal blog man.. keep em comin

  3. Kokki_Jacobus (unregistered) on December 14th, 2007 @ 1:50 am

    Vanakkam and welcome to the metblogs! Looking forward to your gilfaans matter :) Have been following your blog for a while now.. P James is definitely one character whose presence graces the many poromboke walls of the city!

  4. anantha (unregistered) on December 14th, 2007 @ 2:37 am

    Vanakkam Anney!

    Anney, Oru chinna daaut anney…

    Here are two of them that come to mind.

    P. James indhaa irrukaaru… Asana Andiappan irrukaaru. Kooda “The Non-laughing dudes of Golden Beach” irrukeynunga. Idhula rendu perukku mela irrupaanunga, anney?

    Avanga dhaan ivanga nu sollareengala?

  5. Krish Ashok (unregistered) on December 14th, 2007 @ 8:14 am

    Mishtake. Golden beach dudes added in the end but forgot to update count. Corrected now.

    Thanks man. And yeah, I suppose, first time blues. Lets hope it gets better over time :)

    Thank you :)

  6. Ram (unregistered) on December 14th, 2007 @ 8:37 am

    P James magic show – I met this gentleman way back n 1975 when he came to my office offering to do a performance for us! He has not changed his ‘advertising mode’ and it is the same black tar painting on street walls! And the nonlaughing dudes of the Golden Beach reminds one of the guards at the Buckingham Palace!!

  7. Radman (unregistered) on December 14th, 2007 @ 9:07 am

    i might be the oldest MB reader, but I bet Ive had the most fun. Welcome KA. I look forward to your posts and definetly like your music. cheers.
    I just came from a vogue magazine party with some very hot talent and nice bourbon.

  8. Giridhar (unregistered) on December 14th, 2007 @ 9:32 am

    Great to see u in metro blog as well krish..

    Now u r an omni present netizon

  9. Chandrachoodan (unregistered) on December 14th, 2007 @ 11:41 am

    Varanum, varanum.

  10. randramble (unregistered) on December 14th, 2007 @ 9:39 pm

    So, there are others who have witnessed a magic show by James!

  11. Govar (unregistered) on December 15th, 2007 @ 12:07 am

    Loved the stuff you had in your personal blog. Would be gr8 to see some of those down here…

  12. Nandan (unregistered) on December 15th, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

    Hi Krish,

    Why not get chennaites involved and get proper justice done. high-handness of individuals should be condemned by all.

    1. Chennai’s own BMW version of hit-and-run case
    2. Are the Police under pressure to cover-up the Khemkas?
    3. The Police has to find the links of the accident pointing towards industrialist Khemka of NEPC – owners of the car
    4. The Police have found out that one of the Khemka scion – Achal Khemka was driving the car and fled the scene of the accident.
    5. The family is using pressure-tactics to make sure that the family and their reputation is saved.
    6. Several papers today highlighted an accident wherein two labourers were killed and ten hit by a Mercedes Benz car. The driver of the car is absconding.
    7. The Police have reported that they are unable to locate the details of the driver of the car, not considering that only a few such cars are in the city.
    8. The fact also that the car belongs to an affluent family which may be the reason the police is unwilling to expose them, but exploit the situation.

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