A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Madras

Posted by Pepper on January 21, 2011

..or call it Chennai. I always prefer calling cities by the names I’ve heard as a child. In all honesty, this is a city I was quite indifferent to. The media had bad things to say about the place. Mostly. The citizens of this place built temples and worshiped movie stars. I didn’t ever think I could connect to a place like that. And then there was our man, Chetan Bhagat. He had some interesting descriptions of the city in his book. People wore lungis on the streets? Alcohol was so hard to get? Meat was such a no no? Mentalities reeked of chauvinism? How can anybody live freely in such a conservative environment?

And then I decided to give the city a chance. The place became special to me. It is where Mint grew up. I decided to try and wipe out all prejudices that had been scrawled all over my mind over time. And when I viewed the city with no tinted shades blinding my eyes, I was  pleasantly surprised. The city is like any other metro. It has interesting places for the youth to hang out at. The young crowd there has the same lifestyle and attitude as they do in other big cities. The ambiance in some of the swanky new joints is very interesting, and very urban. And lungis on streets? What was that? I have no idea why such an established author would paint such a biased and unfair picture of the city.

I can actually say I enjoyed my time there. I think my in-laws house is huge. There is some joy in running around on the stairs, up and down, multiple times a day. I also spent some time bonding with the mom in law. I’ve always been intimidated by her. Perhaps cos I am so vastly different from her image of the ideal daughter in law. But I can see the efforts she takes to accommodate my personality and lifestyle. And I really appreciate it. So when I could dress, speak and live the way I usually do, living there was actually fun. I did try and help her in the kitchen, lest I am slated as a bahu from Baghban. But most of the time she wouldn’t allow me to do much and I’d end up getting everything in hand. Perhaps because we don’t live there and only visit once in a while?

Mint left for the US a few days back, and I actually spent a few days in Madras without him. And surprisingly, those were fun too. I came back to Bombay yesterday in an early morning flight. And of course, there was some drama at the airport. My flight was scheduled to take off at 5:40 am and so I reached the airport at around 4:35 am, thinking I have sufficient time considering it is a domestic flight. I walk to the check in counter and find it shut, only to be informed that the flight timing had been changed to 4:50 am. All passengers had been called and informed about this change, but since I didn’t book my tickets from India, I hadn’t provided a phone number and could not be contacted. After a lot of WTF moments, threats and arguments, they did let me board that flight. Yes, I’ll go on and say it. Why do such things happen to me?

I have two more weeks in Bombay, before I leave. I hope to savour the food, the moments, the people, the weather, and then head back, recharged, happy and content.

35 Responses to “Madras”

  1. ajay said

    I don’t like the new names they have given to our cities. I still say Calcutta, Bangalore, Bombay , Madras. Bahu from Baghban! 😀 I’m surprised to know the flight left earlier than the scheduled time but good for you that you reached there just in time.

    • Pepper said

      Yes, I am glad I got on to that flight too.. otherwise I’d be stranded there till alternate arrangements were made..

    • I found Chennai too hot after I moved from Bangalore. But then, grew to love it eventually. I’m not a hard core chennai-iite but it’s not hard for me to see why some people love it to bits :-). The Chetan bhagat description annoyed me too. Not everyone you meet in chennai is a name-calling lungi sporting guy. what can I say? you get what you deserve, and may be he met only those type of people in the city.

  2. Scribby said

    aah the sound of an happy post 🙂 makes me glad too peppy 🙂

    Oh Chennai sure is a happening city though I’vent spent much time but whatever 2-3 days I’ve spent I found it vast and engulfing 🙂

    But but ..no city like Mumbai,right ? 😉

    Hmm glad that you got to be yourself with the in-laws around..that’s the best part of marriage,right? 🙂

    So back to the glittering city of locals and seas han? Enjoy your remaining stay..on my behalf too 🙂

  3. Tanishka said

    Your description of Chennai is completely different to what I have read so far… 🙂
    Enjoy your stay in Mumbai and eat lots… 😀

  4. vishalbheeroo said

    hey never been to Chennai but heard the same plcae is upcoming.Looks like the cosmopoilitan stuffs is not sparing Chennai.It’s an upcoming place and it’s nice to hear that ur ma-in-law is making effortt o accomodate you.Have a blast in Mumbai..sure u’ve been to Marine Drive,go for a round at Andheri-Infinity mall and have a supa coffee @Barrista Dadar-Shivaji Nagar and Bandra Bandstand.The place rock and make sure u watch Dhobi Ghaat.
    Do comment on me blog.
    Love N Cheers
    Vishal

    • Pepper said

      Will go to those places and do the things you said. And I’ve been waiting to catch Dhobi Ghaat. I’ll read and comment on your blog if you leave behind the link 🙂

  5. Bikram said

    awwwwwwwwwww i like i like 🙂 saas bahu bonding… hmmmmmmmmm ..

    I had gone to madras lots of years back when the all india roller skating chanpionships were old at the OTA in Madras..

    Glad you are enjoying in india makes me Wanna come tooo spend all the time there and have fun with friends and family

    Have fun and enjoy the two weeks have funnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

  6. I used to hate Chennai as a kid – the heat, the potters, auto drivers use to scare…and then i was sent there to work for three months and i must say i enjoyed myself. It’s as hip and happening as any other place…

  7. I loved Chennai (sorry, have gotten used to the name) too sans the heat. The food was awesome! And so much shopping in TNagar 🙂

    Now c’mon, where are the pics of all that you savored there? 😛

    Enjoy the 2 weeks in Mumbai and come back with more stories 🙂

  8. Titaxy said

    sigh. i so miss madras 🙂

    enjoy the rest of the trip, Pepper

  9. Deeps said

    Good to know that you had a rollicking time with your in-laws! Enjoy the rest of your vacation too, Pepper :).

  10. Oregano said

    nice! now you see why i hate chetan bhagat?

  11. Aaaah you visited my first love(in cities) 😀
    And you have come back to say its doing well. I’ll sleep peacefully tonight 😀

  12. Swaram said

    Running arnd up and down and everywhere is so much fun indeed 🙂
    Have more fun and keep updating us 🙂

  13. Pratishtha said

    You are in Mumbai! I hope you have a wonderful time. I have heard terrible things about Chennai. I had put in on the list of cities I’d rather not visit. Should I do a rethink?

  14. su said

    hi pepper. have read all your archives in the past couple of days. love your blog and am sure to be back. i had gone to madras in the peak of summer and unfortunately the only thing i’ll miss is the filter coffee and the saris. i suppose having people/ family in the city changes how you view it.

    • Pepper said

      Good to see you here Su! 🙂 You’re right. I guess you need some personal bonds with the place in order to feel for it.. Though the filter coffee is enough to make me shift base there..lol

  15. Chatterbox said

    You got a wonderful way of putting your thoughts in words 😛
    I guess it’s my first visit to your blog and I am absolutely loving it here 😀 😀
    Have a great time in Mumbai 😛

  16. Smitha said

    That does sound like a wonderful holiday! And Chennai, I guess, just as any other city, has all sorts of aspects to it 🙂 It is great that you had such a great time there!

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