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Mdeii Life - Anand Krishnamoorthi's blog

Thursday, August 26, 2004

A Day for Madras

Now we have our own thingy. I have always had the opinion that Chennai/Madras, though lacking in �attitude� unlike other international cities like Bombay, has a lot of potential. Think of it: A fairly colourful (colonial) history and legacy; two rivers and a canal (hmm�); the biggest damn beaches I have seen, fairly decent green-cover; also the hometown of many important people and things; seat of provincial government; home to some unique industry. Now what is wrong? Basic uncleanliness; messy hoardings; horrible traffic; wires crisscrossing streets, lampposts & buildings; hideous float-glass corporate affairs; tasteless post-independence government architecture etcetera.

12:04 am


Comments to A Day for Madras

Anand, beyond all those, a complete lack of Historical persepective about how rich we are in terms of our past. If someone invents a pinhole to let people watch the People & Events that have graced this Town, our folks won't crib as much about Madras being the doomed City!

- hemanth

posted by Anonymous Anonymous 

1:37 am, August 26, 2004

Almost agree with hemanth. But only almost. cos there is still that hoarse, but desperate voice of a faction that recognizes the truth.

But I�d generalize his statement to say that, as a nation, we are low on self-esteem & pride over our past.

posted by Blogger RamV 

5:51 am, August 26, 2004

Its been been a while since I was in Madras, never actually visited Chennai so to speak, that long. Stayed there for a couple of years in the early eighties.

What it lacks in attitude, if that it is, it makes up well in character, the most colorful, most vibrant place.

Was down in the dumps then, at the end of the ladder. Lived in shack in Egmore, wrote erotic fiction for two bit sleazy magazines to survive.

As Naseeruddin Shah says in the movie Chakra (released in those times) "Duniya mein do hi chakar hai, ek pet ka aur ek pet ke niche ka."

Nice blog Mdeii.


posted by Blogger Shakeel Abedi 

8:54 am, August 26, 2004

Inspite of all that, wires and bad roads and hoardings, I think Madras is a much better city.

Madras is so much more a warm city. It is not indifferent. Not a city where people don't care about you. Bangalore is cold and aloof. Bombay is not cold, but certainly aloof, and busy, and there is a sense of urgency in whatever you do in Bombay. Delhi is all about who you know. Nothing else.

I prefer Madras, with all its warts and cuts to Any othe r city

posted by Blogger Ravages/CC 

9:27 am, August 26, 2004

Almost agreed.. except for the fairly decent green-cover part. Green cover, in my opinion, is grossly inadequate.

That apart, namma Madras has something to offer to everyone.

- Chakra.

posted by Blogger Chakra 

1:33 pm, August 26, 2004

CC, your love for Chennai is evident. Being a Bangalorean I appreciate that everybody has a right to an opinion; you are entitled to yours. Remain blissful, friend, is what I have to say! Cheers and no hard feelings! :)

posted by Anonymous Anonymous 

6:45 pm, August 26, 2004

few more things to add...
The bus service..Can any city beat it??The connectivity between various parts of the city!Thats an awesome part!!
An affordable lifestyle..I feel Madras seems to be cheaper in many aspects when compared to other major cities...
A melange of everything..traditional temples coupled with modern establishments...
Take a 5 km bus ride n enjoy everything..
Marina..Rosary Matric ;)...santome church..Mylapore Kapaleeswarar koil..Luz..AVM saravan bhavan...Chola sheraton...U.S counsellate..Landmark..n the list goes on!!
I jus love Madras!

posted by Blogger rajesh 

8:24 pm, August 26, 2004

The comments make me more nostalgic ... waitin to get back for a holiday.

posted by Blogger RamV 

10:09 pm, August 26, 2004


email me if you are still planning something for the weekend.

posted by Blogger Prince Roy 

6:22 pm, August 27, 2004

Hemanth: You are right. In fact, for this very reason, a friend of mine and I, made plans for a TV series based on S Muthiah�s work. Guess who turned it down? You�re right: Our good friends at Sun TV who did not find �saleability�. Maybe we should have approached them with a pilot episode about the historical importance of Vijay�s Saligramam residence instead of one about the 300 odd years old Armenian Church. Or maybe they thought that we were novice filmmakers with idealistic ambitions.

Ram: The irony is, the �wounded pride� manifests itself in a Hindutva sort of breast- thumping and consequently, lengthy e-mail forwards about how India invented everything from condoms to American football.

Shakeel: Anybody who has lived in Chennai for long enough will like it. It kinda grows on you. BTW Thanks and you have a great blog too.

CC: I have to agree with your anonymous detractor. Chennai is a great place, but it is unwise to say that it is the greatest. I myself haven�t lived long enough in any other city, but places like Bangalore (probably the only other city I know reasonably OK), or Bombay (a place I fell in love with for its energy) have a certain something else to offer. I have no intention of putting down my dear old hometown.
OK, lets put it this way. Chennai is not complete, but neither is every city. So rather than compete for the same nonsense, why not offer something unique. Ex: why do we want Chennai too to be IT thisthingthatthing betterorworsethan Hyderabadorbangalore? Wherever we are �unique� we have in no way reached our potential. A good example is our beaches.

Chakra: Point there and taken. And why did I not mention WATER when talking about Chennai? I think green cover/ water-scarcity/ poor-planning are all interlinked.

Raapi: Chennai buses have kept me alive man. For a person paranoid about driving in this traffic, MTC has been keeping the chaos on for me by proxy. But I still prefer to mention Bombay for its public transport system (trains/buses/taxis and AUTOS).
But you are very right about certain �important� bus routes. In fact, I think somebody should start compiling a Jag-like chronicle of bus journeys in Chennai.
My favourite routes are 17D, 23C, PP49, 25B, 11H, 12G, 5T (not in any particular order) and my least favourite route has to be 5E

posted by Blogger Anand 

10:18 pm, August 27, 2004

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