Tamarind City

I know what you are thinking… It has taken me far too long to read this book. A book which is about my favorite place on earth – Chennai. A book written by someone associated with my favorite publication – The Hindu.

I want to say Ghosh nailed it. But I can’t… He gets close though. The book starts off slow and Ghosh ambles on about his love for Chennai and we wait for the book to focus…. On chennai. It does and he ensures that he travels the breadth and length of the city. From St Thomas mount to Sriperambathur, from Mylapore to Marina, from Triplicane to T M Krishna, from Appa Gardens to Amma, from George Town to Gymkhana club. Sometimes we feel that he has rearranged the archives from S Muthiah’s archives. But most of the time he sticks true to his quest.

Ghosh misses two very important facets of Chennai – koyambedu and kollywood. The koyambedu market is definitely a landmark that should feature in a travel book and kollywood is the arm candy of chennai. How did he miss that? Editorial arm wriggling?

But Tamarind city brings alive the streets of Chennai – the cacophony, chaos and the civility. We are painfully modest, traditional yet tech savvy, loyal yet accommodating… Chennai is truly where modern India began.

I read this book on a train ride from munich to vienna and instead of dreaming about the sights in the Austrian capital, Ghosh made me wistful of my filter Kappi. That my friend is a good book.

India Chronicles – Part 1

CHENNAI – This city is in my blood… the sweat in my forehead, the noise ringing in my ears, the quickness in my step are all genetic from being born here. So when i landed, i anticipated thrills, shocks, laughter,amusement, smiles and chennai.

* You can feel your ears and they can listen. Not just the horns, the pressure cooker, television, phone… all from your neighbours house.
* It is not ok to be brown to be indian. So please apply fair & lovely or vivel if you want to be visible.
* Every “friendly” neighbour and your maid servant will be interested in the US economy and your green card status.
* I dont care if the seat belt sign is on, the minute the landing gear hits ground, i will get up, grab cabin baggage, jostle the queue, race immigration and wait forever for baggage to arrive(tirupathila balajiya kooda parkalam check in baggage …..)
* Pallavan -> Auto -> share auto -> Jeep -> Volvo Pallavan ( Life does come full circle). Obama should take a leaf out of chennai for public transport.
* Indian advertisements rock. Watched some really funny ones… video links soon 🙂

…to be continued.