13 October 2011

Why Chennai? I say, Why Not Chennai

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.

Did I like what I saw? Did Chennai make me crave for more? Will I refer it to other first time travelers? Did I bid a tearful goodbye when I left its land to return home? Do I miss it now as I think about it?


In the next post! :)

46 comments:

  1. Awaiting your next post :)

    I know it's the same with people all over. We take pride in saying We're from Chennai :)

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  2. :-), I will not agree with the Northie friend here. I juz love that place!

    If you know the language, tolerate the tropical climate and know to tackle with the localities, Chennai is such a wonderful place my dear. Me and my friends spent years there and these days, we miss that place a lot.

    And I think it is a hub, that connects to nearly hundreds of spots in and around.

    Waiting for your next post on your Chennai Visit...

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  3. I am almost afraid of the next post!!! Don't have a good feeling abt it ;-)

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  4. Eagerly awaiting your next post... Am sure it must have given a memorable experience. Not just because am from Chennai but because of the culture and the heritage the city carries... (And took cues from ur FB pics :D )

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  5. I'm really really curious.. I am used to having a bad opinion so something positive about the place is most welcome..

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  6. I've always wanted to travel-anywhere and everywhere that I could no matter where it was or what people thought of it. If you want to go there, what does it matter what other people say? YOU'RE the one who wants to go, so I say go! :)

    I honestly have no clue about the places in India, but it's definitely somewhere I'd love to travel one day.

    In the mean time, I subscribed so I can live vicariously through your travels ;)

    Can't wait until the next post!

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  7. Ha.. u had me interestingly confused there. While your title "Why not Chennai" gave positive vibes, your statement "And I am pretty sure my last" suggested the opposite. ;) And then I encountered your "To be continued" message. :)

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  8. I like your logic behind "Why not Chennai?" :)

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  9. ah..it seems like you had a very good time over there... yes i heard culcutta is very rich in culture and history...someday i will visit it :) waitinf for your next post to get a clear picture :)

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  10. Oh yes waiting for your next posts.. i looovvveee Chennai :) :)

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  11. mee too... waiting for your next post.
    Tamilnadu is a diversified targetted state. filled with tourist destinations with favourable climates. forests. agricultural farms. paddy fields. fruit cultivations. Innocent toiling mass.
    I don't know what you are going to post. Eagerly waiting, anyway.

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  12. Sujatha the day you left Chennai we landed in chennai Lolz. Suspense filled post, i have been visiting Chennai from past 25 years and have seen different shades, looking forward your take

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  13. @Ashwini: pride is a good thing :)

    @leo: so many "conditions" to like the city?

    @Anne: are your intuitions usually wrong?

    @Anand: kalla! ideas from FB - :))

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  14. @Shruthi: i know how you feel. I too had heard mostly negatives about the place

    @Kayla: yay! that's the spirit of a true travel enthusiast!

    @Raj: :))
    let me clear one of your doubts: 'my last visit' because time/MONEY/energy involved in trips & i might as well use it for another place next time :)

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  15. @Nona: thank you Nona

    @Israr: yes you heard right. and i really hope one day you do get to visit at least some of the places here. that brings the question: have you been to India - ever?

    @Sunita: 4 years in the city - no wonder :)

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  16. @Shukoor: fully agree with the "innocent toiling mass" - nicely put & well observed. i got that feeling a lot too

    @Deguide: what a miss!!
    past 25 years? wow - you must be an authority now on Chennai :)

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  17. I like Chennai so much and I would prefer it any day to Bangalore! I miss the city so much esp the crowded suburban trains.

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  18. agree with that NAARTH indian fellow ;) i have two place on my list i will resign if sent to work : kolkata and CHENNAI. and as for DILLI(its not delhi/delly/dehli) i share the same emotions.lovely place

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  19. I liked the open minded thinking of yours. Not getting carried away by opinions.

    Every place has its' own charm. I have been to that place. Stayed there. Liked it.
    Waiting for the next post!

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  20. Great post..the reaction that u have covered on going to Chennai are bang on!. North Indians are scared of Chennai simply because it is heard that if you don't know language you will have a difficult time there.
    Delhi is an amazing place These dusherra vacation I visited the Qutab Minar and Lotus Temple with my children and it was so different from the way I looked at these places.
    Waiting for your next post!

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  21. naw..i have never been to india...in fact i have never been to anywhere outside pakistan.... lest hope..someday i make it to all the wonderful places in the world... :)

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  22. My intuitions are usually right but my paranoia is almost always wrong. The trick is to figure out which is my intuition and which is my paranoia!!

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  23. @Jane: aah! cant bear to hear that - prefer chennai to Blore any day! :((
    will our soon-to-be-here crowded metro reduce your pangs?

    @maniac: dilli - nice ring to it - i stand sweetly corrected :)

    @Sahana: thanks Sahana. good to know that you liked the place.
    stayed?! for long?

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  24. @Kirti: thank you Kirti
    Qutub Minar & Lotus Temple - wow - yes indeed dilli is beautiful

    @Israr: amen to that :)

    @Anne: my god lady - you are smart with a capital S. caught in your web of words

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  25. Saw your interview on Jidhu's blog & dropped in to say 'hi'! Like you, I love to travel in my own country (Australia) - but love how blogging means I can 'virtually' visit other countries!

    Have a great weekend!

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  26. @REd: thank you so much for dropping by.
    true, blogging helps us discover places & countries & people. u too have a great weekend :)

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  27. Looking forward to you next post , I have been to chennai twice now ...

    But i must say it was difficult with the language problem , some of the people would not answer me when i talked in hindi , Maybe it was my face then .. I had a beard and wore a turban then .. maybe it was me ..

    so lets see what you experienced ...

    Bikram's

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  28. @Bikram: twice to chennai? hmmm. wonder what was the second time for? work i presume

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  29. No both times were personal, first time it was with a college trip and then next time was for the All india skating competetion.. held in OTA there ..

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  30. I am from Tamil Nadu and even I don't recommend Chennai for vacations. But ur story makes me change my mind....It's true that only ousiders know the real value of this historical city.
    Looking forward for ur other posts.
    From: sriramnivas.wordpress.com

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  31. @Bikram: ok. i see. skating huh? hmm. nice

    @Sriramnivas: was amused by your first line. quite honest!

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  32. You made Chennai so desirable just by adding colonial and long history with it. Waiting for the sequel!

    Saru

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  33. @Saru: if there's one thing Blore lacks,it is a colorful/colonial/long history
    sequel's already posted :)

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  34. Hey dear.. wonderful post and the next one too.. read both.. loved the way u narrated both in different styles of writers.. :) and the way you politely broke the misconceptions.. are there more or just 2 posts?

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  35. @KP: a few more. looks like October is reserved for Chennai ! unable to think anything else!

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  36. Waiting eagerly for your conclusion of the city. I am a 'Northie', here in Chennai for last 4 years.

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  37. i doubt i would care to go back to chennai, thats the place i do not want to live in, reason being the weather and the language challenge...

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  38. Chennai has its pros and cons compared to Bangalore. it isn't as bad as otherwise projected

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  39. @Gautam: :)
    northie in chennai for 4 years! hmmm. work i guess. i am wondering about your take on the city now

    @Chintan: true. 2 major concerns for anyone wanting to "live" in a new city

    @Shrinidhi: the fact is we hear lots & lots of negative things about it & when we go there we go with those notions

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  40. I like to see the post further. I am sure chennai would have treated you in a better way..

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  41. Chennaiiiii chennaiii :)

    Regards,
    J
    http://mycreationz.wordpress.com

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  42. For a long I've been thinking to explore south but never got the chance to visit. So hopefully I am getting opportunity to explore chennai through your eyes and your post. Sorry for reading it late..

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  43. @Mithlash: hey no probs. better late than never, remember? i appreciate you taking the time to read so many posts & commenting on each one. thanks.
    and yes, you must one day find the time to explore south india

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  44. I wonder why people have only negative views about chennai.I love the city..

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  45. @Renu: you must be living in chennai from many many years. appreciate your love for the city Renu

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