Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chennai- The Place to be???

As I said in my previous post that I landed up in Chennai, the southern Metro city of India. Although my dreams of foreign posting were already in trash, but still Chennai did give me a flavor of how one would feel in a foreign city since here everything was so different and strange.
My first barrier was the language which was nowhere even remotely related to Hindi, English, Punjabi, Marwari or Gujarati, the languages I had always listened to since childhood. Initially, we were the easy victims for the autorikshaw drivers. We would enquire for a place, that time the fellow would understand our Hindi, tell us the rate which would be four times the actual, and finally when we would argue while handing over the fare (on realizing that we have just now been looted), he would simply start talking in Tamil and make us feel that he does not know which language we are talking in. After staying there for 1 month, even I understood that whatever the fellow asks for just argue for half the rate else laugh on them (even if they abuse me, who cares, for I don’t understand Tamil).
Next, one day I was desperate to have North Indian food and ordered for Mushroom masala and tandoori roti in a famous chain of eating joints, Hot Chips. I indeed got masala, which meant only green and red chillies and mushroom has to be searched for. Then and there itself I promised myself never to order my favorite dish in Chennai.
Did I miss to tell you about the overloaded buses which are 45 degrees titled towards one side for people are dangling out of the gate and the windows. Malls, which are one of the normal features of any metro city, Chennai had only two of them- City Center and Spencer’s. With its hot climate where I was feeling so uncomfortable even in my cotton shirts, ladies would wear dark heavy silk sarees and gold ornaments during day time!!
Now, if any native of Chennai is reading this, (s) he might have already started cursing me. But hey, picture abhi baki hai mere dost. This is where I could find the best Idly ever (after my mom’s) at Murugan Idly Shop (I actually got addicted to it), where I could manage very well eating them with sambhar and 4 chutneys with my hand neatly on a banana leaf. Found one of the most mouth watering gol gappas at Gangotri (chat shop run by bihari bhaiyyas). Relaxed for hours and hours at Besant Nagar beach (better than Marina beach, in terms of crowd and cleanliness). Saw most beautiful gold jewellery (shops as big as 3-4 floors just for gold ornaments), and the best silk sarees (I bought my mom one from the famous Nallis with my first salary, and she looked amazing in it). Got to live in a bungalow size flat, with all the amenities, with the most amazing landlords and 3 sweet room-mates, with our endless movie story telling sessions, school poems and chapters, gossips on Zoom TV, watching Roadies on MTV and comedy scenes in our kitchen while preparing dinner. Later on, it became fun to travel in over-crowded buses, since I started getting deluxe buses on my route from office to home. Tried my hand at learning Tamil and Malayalam (for my two flat-mates were Keralites), but failed badly with the tongue-twister languages.
But yes, when I had to bid farewell to this Southern metro, I had tears in my eyes, which I made sure not to reveal to anyone, because I was leaving behind my landlords, who were no less than my parents there, my cousin- my backbone in Chennai, my flat-mates- all of us would wait for everyone to come back from office to start our gossip session. Must admit, not a bad place to be in...Cheers!!

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