Chennai

Chennai, Madras of yore, has been one of the four original metropolitan cities of the country, though after the IT boom, Bengaluru(Bangalore of yore) seemed to have overtaken Chennai on certain growth parameters. However, Chennai continues to be original in many senses for North Indians like me for whom Madrasi (of Madras) will remain colloquial for everything South Indian – people, food, culture etc. Delhi was introduced to South Indian cuisine – Idli, Dosa, Vada etc. by Madras Hotel, which continued to tickle the taste buds of gastronomes till the early part of last decade before hanging boots! Most of the civil servants and senior government officials living in and around Lutyens Delhi were people from Tamilnadu. Grand Trunk Express between Madras and New Delhi was the sole connection between these two cities till host of other trains were introduced gradually. Swami Malai Temple, Delhi Tamil Sangam etc all had Tamilnadu /Madras connection.

An avid lover of South Indian food and admirer of South Indian simplicity, I was immensely excited during my first visit to Tamilnadu with my parents, with Madras being the hub. Madras had not become cosmopolitan in the sense we know perhaps Mumbai to be, but I was fascinated by the architecture, pure form of Hinduism, discipline, extremely cheap my favourite South Indian stuff – idli, vada, dosa, aromatic filter coffee, availability of hot cup of horlicks at neighbourhood restaurant etc. With each subsequent visit, the metamorphosis of the city is amply evident. While industrialisation has always been Tamilnadu’s strength, in new Chennai, one comes across IT hubs all over, swanky buildings with glass facades, international cuisine, fast food and new age local transport -Metro! In one of my earlier visits, I was advised to take local train from the city to get down at Trisulam station from where the airport was walkable. That railway line and station still exist, but I wonder whether any flier takes this option any more in a city, where traditional is beautifully married with modern!

7 thoughts on “Chennai

  1. The very first time I visited Chennai in my official capacity I also had the chance to fly in the then recently introduced Airbus A320 from Kolkata. The trip remains memorable for this and other reasons. I had gone for one week hence my already heavy VIP suitcase was really heavy. This ten kilo case I had to carry to Trisulam station ()

    Like

  2. No wheelers existed in 1990. I was conducting a vigilance inquiry on behalf of my erstwhile employer which took its own course. On the return trip to Kolkata the A320 took off, flew East on to the Bay of Bengal and turned North towards Kolkata , climbing all the time.
    Suddenly the plane nose dived for no apparent reason. Fortunately most of us still had our seat belts on so no harm was done. I was sitting by a port side window near the back of the plane. I looked out of the window to my left and saw a huge, and I mean really huge, Boeing 747 passing overhead a little behind us crossing our flight path at a right angle. It looked majestic, trailing four plumes of white exhaust against the bright blue sky above. This is called a Near Miss in aviation parlance, I discovered later.
    Had it not been for the nose dive (prompted no doubt by the Air Traffic Control at the very last minute ) I wouldn’t be telling you this tale. πŸ˜€

    Like

  3. No wheelers existed in 1990. So I had to carry the case by hand and then climb all those stairs to the platform level. I got down at Mambalam from where I walked again, to T Nagar where I found a hotel for the week (at a price that was within the pathetic limit permitted by the Bank for Scale II Officers) . The same steps were retraced on the return trip. I was conducting a vigilance inquiry on behalf of my erstwhile employer which took its own course. On the return trip the A320 took off, flew East on to the Bay of Bengal and turned North towards Kolkata , climbing all the time.
    Suddenly the plane nose dived for no apparent reason. Fortunately most of us still had our seat belts on so no harm was done. I was sitting by a port side window near the back of the plane. I looked out of the window to my left and saw a huge, and I mean really huge, Boeing 747 passing overhead a little behind us crossing our flight path at a right angle. It looked majestic, trailing four plumes of white exhaust against the bright blue sky above. This is called a Near Miss in aviation parlance, I discovered later.
    Had it not been for the nose dive (prompted no doubt by the Air Traffic Control at the very last minute ) I wouldn’t be telling you this tale. πŸ˜€

    Like

  4. The last time I passed through Chennai was a week before my retirement. I was on my way to Colombo to attend an annual meeting of bankers organised by Central Bank of Sri Lanka where I was deputising for Mr Mukherjee. I was pleasantly surprised when I flew from Mumbai to Chennai via domestic and came out of the building to go to the international side to catch the Air Lanka flight. An electric car drew up in front of me and the smiling driver drove me over a kilometre to the international terminal, chatting all the time.

    Like

Leave a Reply to jayanta13 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s