This is not my first visit to Tamil Nadu. I have been to Pondicherry, Ooty, Yercaud, Trichy, Hoganekkal, Kodaikanal, Salem, and Kanyakumari. (That’s a lot of places covered in a single state, isn’t it?) I love the state.
This is my first visit to Chennai. In 34 years. And I am pretty sure my last.
Why did I choose to go to Chennai? Why would anyone in their sane mind want to go there for a week-long family vacation? Don’t people go there out of compulsion, usually work? That was the response we got from family & friends. Sathya’s colleague (a Northie) was flabbergasted & asked, “But kyun? Koi aur jagah nai mila? Itne saare achche places hai?” It is a city for forced transfer, not holiday or sightseeing.
I don’t know about that. How could I form an opinion about a place/people I never saw or met? I have a long list of places I want to see in India (no money to go see ‘countries’). Among the Indian metros, I was yet to visit Calcutta & Chennai. Both these places are known for their cultural & literary heritage. Both are still largely dominated by their own kind; the population is still very much local & hence, in that sense, the experience authentic. Both these cities were once the seat of power – political, economic & social – thanks to the British Raj & the kings who ruled before them.
I have a fascination for things connected with our colonial history. On the 2 occasions I visited Delhi, I fell in love with it. Every road, every pillar, every stone in Delhi seemed to tell a story of a martyr/freedom fighter, of political struggles or some event from the pages of history. I loved that about Delhi. I was like a wide-eyed schoolgirl in a Barbie shop. I had travelled & explored Delhi ALONE – both times - & was so mesmerized by it; I cared two hoots for its “most unsafe Indian city for women” tag.
I wanted to see Chennai from a long time. Just 6 hours away, it is the nearest metro to Bangalore & that was a logistically compelling reason too. Moreover, it is the city with the longest recorded history. I wanted to feel and experience the ethos of the place.
So off we packed our bags & set off on a trip. From 27th Sept to 2nd Oct.