I was reading Madras Day celebrations everywhere and was feeling nostalgic on Chennai. There are so many memories in that hottest city on the planet.
I remember bike rides - on those long beautiful stretches between Guindy and Mount Road via Kotturpuram bridge. And the nice shady stretches at TTK Road. And the curvy road at Beasant Nagar ( last I visited they had bumpers on the curve - bummer ). And the last few years before I left in 2000 - the Velachery to Shollinganallur stretch via Medavakkam and the god awesome crash I had on Mahabalipuram road trying to see how far the needle goes in a Splendour. ( It did not go beyond 85kmph )
And food. The Ponnuswamy's and Anjappar's - alas - I might not be able to indulge there anymore having turned a meeto-taller ( like teeto-taller - you will see it in oxford dictionary next year :D ). The bread omlette at High Look bar - next to IIT - at night 2am. The kotthu porrotta at Mangudi mess. The Fried rice at the Road side Chinese shop. The Saravana Bhavan mini meals - and the coffee.. which elevates you to heaven at every sip.
Fruit Shop on Greams Road and Qwikys. Have spent hours with friends discussing on the future and ideas and nothings.
Eloor lending library. Spent a fortune there. Read the entire Calvin & Hobbes collection.I had gone to say hi to a school friend of mine ( how I met him is a puzzle - no phone, no email, no facebook those days ) - he was a copy writer that time - he gave me a photocopy of Calvin & Hobbes and it piqued my interest. Through him had an opportunity to attend an oscar like awards ceremony for Advertisers.
The temples. The one at Beasant Nagar on a sea shore with the sea breeze and jasmine flowers and gaudy sarees. The one at Mylapore which is like a journey through time. The live carnatic music and the pious looking sincere faces.
Central. So many pickups and drops. Blue mountain - the most sought after train to and from Coimbatore - and the groggy eyed trips to CEG from the station on a Monday morning.
The Beaches. Have so many memories. Everytime I go they all come back flooding to me. I have visited Beasant Nagar beach so many times - with so many of my friends and family.
And CEG. Met so many humble smart intellectuals. Made so many friends. One of them turned to become more than a friend and later my life partner. Went from an introvert to someone who can pass off as an extrovert ( still I am an introvert at heart ). CEG put the mojo in me - that I can pull off anything.
The wife calls ourself as Banjaras and we are never rooted to any place. Every few years we pack our pot and kettles and move. She has a kind of love hate relationship with Chennai. But mostly its love I believe. Chennai still tugs my heart - despite the heat withstanding. I keep seeding her now and then - why not Chennai for the next stop.
Oh Chennai, my Chennai - stay young and conservative and don't change - I love you the way you are.