Madras. It’s been 373 years since this beautiful city came into existence. I’ve been here for just 5 years now, and I really don’t know how much justice I can do in this ode.
Since birth, I was brought up in the UAE, a very cosmopolitan country, surrounded by people of all nationalities. A malayali by birth, I hardly even knew any Tamil when the parents decided I should go to Madras for my final 2 years of school.
2007 was when I set foot on this city’s soil. Yes, it was dry, it was UNBELIEVABLY humid and frankly I didn’t think I’d fit in. I didn’t know the language or the culture of the people here. How would I know the Chennai would catch me unawares with her charm?
I joined the ‘prestigious’ DAV Gopalapuram Sr. Sec. Sch that year. So here was a guy, lost in a whole new place where the roads are overrun by rickshaws and 2-wheelers (with not even ONE Hummer in sight!) entering this school. I entered class and looked around. The guys were shouting and playing, rambling in fast tamil. Dejection filled me up.
And then Chennai showed it’s true colours. A guy randomly got up and waved at me with a huge smile on his face. For you see, you’ll be very hard pressed to find a more welcoming city, than Chennai. She doesn’t care whether you are from the north or south, underground or sky. Anyone is welcome at anytime, no questions asked.
I’ve now completed my schooling, learnt the language ( \m/) and made some really awesome friends. No boasting, but most here are really well informed. They owe that to Madras’ excellent schools and colleges, the hallmark of which is considered to be, IIT Madras (My college. Yes, I’m boasting now. =D )
No ode to Chennai can ever, ever be complete without mentioning it’s most precious gem. The Chennai Marina, the 2nd longest beach
in the whole world. Nothing, according to me is as awesome as just sitting there on the sands of the Marina, the breeze transporting you away into a utopian world. Peace, solitude and just pure bliss. That is how I and i’m pretty sure every other Chennaiite would describe the Marina. Pretty much the whole of my summer vacations were spent here, you can just never get bored.
Another endearing awesomeness about Chennai, is it’s sense of humor; the rare quality to laugh at herself and brush of sharp comments. And this quality in there in all of us, courtesy people like Santhanam
So 5 years on, I have become a lover of dapankoothu and kolaveri-esque songs, of the over-the-top tamil action heroes, of hot molaga bhajji and filter kaapi and Ilaiyaraja. Of the ever-present malli-poos (jasmine), the spicy food and of the Chennai Super Kings.
I’m glad I chose Chennai, perhaps one of the best things that happened in my life.
Yelarum Chennai ku oru OO podunga! \m/