Published: February 16th 2011February 16th 2011
The decision was rather sudden, and probably had no rational thought behind it whatsoever, and yet it felt perfectly right at the moment. Maybe it's something to do with the end of the year syndrome... everyone wants to start the year with a bang... with something new, something different, something that marks the beginning of a new year for them. Some choose parties, some choose drives and I was among those who choose a vacation.
But the decision to choose Chennai was rather odd, because I was looking at going to Goa or some place like that... not that I have any regrets, in fact it was one of the best vacations I have had in a long time...
After a rickety and bumpy bus ride, I got down at my destination with a stiff back and aching muscles. It was 5:30 am and the first thing that hit me was a sultry air which, was neither cold nor hot but salty sea breeze... and it was at that moment I knew, that these three days would be among the best days of the year 2010.
Heat, beaches, carnatic music, temples, bharatnatyam, movies, Rajnikanth... have silently become the
identity of this southern city. And yet, she brings something new and different to her visitor, every time.
My this visit to Chennai has possibly been one of the most memorable ones. Most times it has been looking around the city, visiting an ice-cream palour... so i never actually saw what was different, yes there were the beaches even then... But this time I took the time to look around me and understand something of the culture and its people.
For a city, which has had a rich history- is difficult to not have the reminiscence of the past in its present. Coastline littered with people from different walks of life, different origins and ethnicity, blend with the hawkers, fishermen and vendors making a living at the beach.
It is not the similarities, but the differences that define the life of a city. And that is what struck me this time the difference, for a resident it all might seem the same, but from a visitors point of view- it is this difference that stands out.
This visit started with the regular visit, probably every girls must do visit- a mall! With the day of shopping, food and regular fun girl time, I registered the small and subtle differences around me. I saw a city, growing and keeping pace with the development and speed of today and yet she had the nuances of her past adding flavour and spice to the city.
The rickshawalas, the pictures of tamil movies, vendors selling sweetmeats, flowers... magazine segments of the newspapers showcasing the last flick and also the night's cultural event... Mornings that have busy rush hour traffic and also people dressed in their traditional garb to visit the temple... amidst the honking and noise of vehicles...
This myriad of experience and the perfect sync of culture that makes the city and gives her this slyly capricious city her identity.