This ramble is about my sweet and awesome Metropolitan hometown, Chennai, which is often portrayed only as a hot, dry city somewhere in the south filled with Madrasis, churning out Rajnikanth movies. Actually, in addition to all these, there’s more to it. Chennai, originally called as Madras, is a busy city filled with life. It is the capital of Tamil Nadu, one of the predominant south Indian states, and Tamil is the regional language here, which also happens to be my mother tongue. We aren’t Madrasis anymore, we are the Chenaites!
I was pulled out of my mamma’s womb, my first ever comfort zone, here in Chennai. It was this city that introduced me to the world and introduced the world to me as well. I grew up here. My schooling and college happened here. I travel almost 40 kilometres back and forth everyday for work and the city doesn’t tire me at all. Basically, I’ve never really been interested to even visit any other big cities (Dublin, an exception – different story) and never had the reason to, too. I’d rather curl up into a ball and stay in this paradise than leave my dearest hometown, even if it’s for a few days.
Chennai is not just a city. It’s a feeling, an emotion. Chennai is always ready to welcome anyone with wide open hands. The city has a unique way of bringing all of us together and honestly we didn’t quite have a clue about it until the December of 2015, when Chennai was hit by one of the worst floods ever and the entire city was left dangling for rescue. Nature was merciless and the water was in full force, waiting to devour anything and everything on its way. Cars and refrigerators, aadhar cards and hospital life support machines were being washed away. The government was nowhere to help. Local residents were stranded in their terraces, with no electricity, network coverage or food. That’s when so many unknown faces formed groups in the name of volunteers to sort out the situation! These strangers who had no connection at all to each other, came forward to clear things up. Chennai was smothered with calamity and the young souls stood up to rescue with literally no expectations. Humanity was revived. Overtime, people who came to help surpassed people who needed help. Chennai’s spirit was amazing. That’s how awesome, Chennai is. No matter to which corner of the world I may go to, my heart would never forget what it is to be in Chennai.
In the recent years, Chennai’s journey hasn’t really been a walk in the park. Starting from the unexpected 2015 floods flowing right into the city, the heartless Vardah cyclone in the following year bringing down one-third of the city’s trees, the mysterious death of an incumbent CM, the pro-Jallikatu Marina protests to the 2017 summer which is reported to be the hottest in a decade with sky-rocketing temperatures, Chennai has been seeing it all in the last few years.
Chennai has everything. You name it and it’s here. The Marina beach which is the 2nd longest beach in the world, the evergreen Mylapore filter coffee, the Madras Museum, the Connemara library, iMax screens, second-line beach atho shops, the Buhari, the IIT, the overhead MRTS rail lines, the posh Metros, myriad of temples and lots more. There is something for everyone. Even the Tasmacs are everywhere. Chennai never ceases to please everyone. Not to forget that Chennai is devoid of terrorists and is one of the safest cities in India.
I can go on and on about this city which means so much to me. I’m like a boomerang here. No matter how far I tend to go away from here, I always end up banging back to the start! I’m filled with pride every time someone reminds I’m from Chennai. I can’t put into words just how lucky I am, for being born in this wonderful paradise. There’s an unusual warmth that’s engulfing the entire city and keeping it together and no, it’s not the hot sun I’m referring to.
So, if you’ve never been to Chennai before, please do visit. Chennai welcomes you!