January 15, 2008
Reminiscing my old Madras...
A resident of Chennai for the past twenty years, more precisely, from the very first second of my birth into this world. The city has changed in so many aspects, be it the people or the tradition. Chennai, formerly known as Madras, is branded with the name of “Conservative-city” which I have myself heard people telling until some years before or even now for that matter.
Only a true Chennai-te like me could tell exactly as to whether conservative is still on the roll or not. “No more!” is what I would tell but still some people say “it exists”. No issues... it’s up to oneself.
Few questions I asked myself while trudging through a busy road on a rainy- weekend of this old city.
“Is this my Madras once people used to sleep early and shops on this locality used to close down at the stroke of eight at night?”
I can now find people buzzing on the roads late at night, walking out of their homes for shopping after eight or nine’o clock at night without giving a second thought.
“Is this my Madras where once upon a time women used to wear only salwars or sarees and men used to wear a pant and shirt even while coming for walk?
Today I find women wearing jeans and short-tops, caprice, shorts and men mostly wearing 3/4th’s, Bermudas, cool t-shirts, jeans and Sheravanis. Women appear taller than men by their high-healed slippers. There are many designer wear type slippers that are entering the market which are designed especially for men.
“Has fashion crept to the hairs of people of my ex-Madras?”
Oh yes! I could find men growing hairs like Dhoni or John Abraham and very often arranging their unkempt hairs falling on their foreheads with hair- bands which were once a woman’s thing. Gals let their hair loose and most of them are seen with their hair colored...
“Is this my Madras where getting a phone connection was a big thing?”
Getting a telephone connection at home wasn’t that easy some ten years back. But standing on the road I could find almost everyone pre-occupied with their high-fi mobile phones and gadgets.
“Is this my Madras with dozens of flyovers unlike previously where I have felt being in some foreign country while passing through the Gemini Flyover?”
The erratic road traffic with little space for the vehicles to move is a common sight in our Chennai roads. The situation has forced the government to build more flyovers and subways to ease the flow of traffic.
“Is this my Madras experiencing rains in summer?”
Those days, some ten years before getting rains even in the month of November was unpredictable. I can recall very few rainy days in Chennai which actually left an impact. But things have changed a lot now. Climate also has become too unpredictable like the people. Experiencing showers in the month of March or even May sometimes has become common in this city.
Reminiscing my old days unleashes the beautiful moments I experienced in this city and few gray moments too. The best education is what I have got being in this city. May not be a posh city like Bangalore or Bombay, but I like to see my Madras the way it is at present. May not be a “green-city” but can be called “Ever green” by its distinguished –lifestyle.