Friday, March 31, 2006

Randomly, in Chennai

Having spent several (ahem) years in Chennai, I have learnt:

4Never to speak on the mobile phone when I'm travelling in an auto in Chennai, because 1. It sounds as if I am riding a horse (ha-a-a-a-a-a-ai)/ speaking through an asthmatic wheeze (heeeeeyhn), 2. The person on the other side cannot hear me anyway and 3. Nine times out of ten, I leave the phone on the auto seat.

4That the best way to negotiate with driver of abovesaid vehicle is to quote a price ten-twenty rupees (Rs.100 from airport) lesser than his demand and then walk away (recommended nose in the air) as if you are used to walking from Triplicane to Velachery at noon.

4To ask for a fresh juice 'without' because these guys have a habit of dosing you with the entire country's sugar requirement in one glass of watermelon juice.

4That you no longer need small change on an MTC bus, because the fare, these days, is enough to clean your purse out.

4That it is futile to get an auto driver to say "Stella Maris" (Phonetically close to 'maa-riz') as opposed to "Stella Maris" (Phonetically 'maeris') .

4That how much ever I do not like the word 'Pombalai' and think it is demeaning for a woman to be nomenclatured so, it is constanly happening around me.

4That the best tea is almost always available at Iranis and is best drunk in a tall, dirty glass.

4That if the international arrival terminal corridor in Chennai airport smells of urine, it is just to make you feel at home, instantly.

4That a lane without a Vinayakar temple is an illusion.

4That the Nadaar shop at the corner is still your best bet for cheap, fresh groceries.

4The owner of the abovesaid shop seems to have been born with the once-white dhoti and once-white-half- sleeve vest he is wearing.

4That tar melts under intense heat. (Wrt: the road and the summer sun)

4That muttadosais should not be eaten anywhere but in roadside 'thallu vandis'.

4Learn politics and swearwords from drivers (preferably auto).

4That most of what Dinamalar's 'Tea kadai bench' says has, at most, half a grain of truth embedded deep inside.

4That the price of an item on Saravana Bhavan's menu is inversely proportional to the size of what is on the plate.

4NEVER ever to go for a first-day-first-show Superstar blockbuster, unless you want a fracture.

4That 'Thalaivaa' is not necessarily a leader and 'Captain' doesn't necessarily comandeer a ship.

4That great, albeit dead people, get buried on the beach.

4That there is no 'p' in Tamil, so you say replace all 'p's' nevermind where they occur to 'b's'. For instance, you must say 'busba' instead of the ordinary name 'Pushpa'.

4That people on the streets are really helpful because you just have to ask directions to get someplace and you will get four. This is really helpful, because after spending some time going in circles, you will eventually get there, while it is the moral support that ultimately counts and makes you feel loved.

4That Kodambakkam is not just a pincode, but a mini-city all by itself.

4That Josh Harnett sometimes looks like Brad Pitt in profile.

4That nearly a decade after we went Tamilised and became Chennai, the rest of the world still remembers and refers to the city as Madras. Yippeee.


P.S.

If you can see an overemphasis on autos or food, it is not my obsessive compulsive disorder, just your imagination.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Please feel free to enrich it! :)

x

54 Comments:

Blogger dumbs said...

"4That muttadosais should not be eaten anywhere but in roadside 'thallu vandis'"

would 2nd that

6:14 pm

 
Blogger SamY said...

on the flip side - no where else can u attend classical concerts for free :)

along the lines of what you'v written - "Time = Distance / Speed" does not hold!!! the city roads / traffic and signals are so well designed that no matter how slow or fast you travel you reach any destination in the same time ... esp long distance

when driving you have to be warry if crossing pedestrians have seen you and act to that, and you can expect some dance on the rd when the proximity is less :D

no matter what soap / deo you use, one trip outside is enuf to make you stink ;)

#1 / best / high-quality have no meaning here ... we believe in equality :p

I'll rest here ... really gud one ... u shud be joining - http://chennai.metblogs.com is u have the time n patience

7:41 pm

 
Anonymous prakash said...

4That muttadosais should not be eaten anywhere but in roadside 'thallu vandis'

Bulls eye..

9:30 pm

 
Blogger the wannabe indian punkster said...

That if the international arrival terminal corridor in Chennai airport smells of urine, it is just to make you feel at home, instantly.

So darn true.
Of all places why does the International Terminal stink of urine?

I mean.....what better way to welcome foriegn tourists...with the nauseating odor of urine rite?

:D
MEgha

11:56 pm

 
Blogger Mukund said...

That the price of an item on Saravana Bhavan's menu is inversely proportional to the size of what is on the plate

so very true...u order a bonda n u get something the size of a bajji or much smaller :)

1:30 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Learn politics and swearwords from drivers (preferably auto).

Yup. Also from the Wikipedia article on Madras bashai.

2:10 am

 
Blogger Sriram said...

@MEgha :And why are we spewing lava on the international terminal? You have no idea as to why it is maintained that way on purpose. That's right *switches to italian mafia accent* they do it on poipose... *switches back to normal "galeej" accent*... that is to give returning desis a "homecoming" welcome :P..

@ Rums,
Totally agree with the mutta dosai part... nothing beats the road-side mutta dosai.. Grrr.. now you've made me wanna eat mutta dosai.. where the hell am I supposed to go?

9:00 am

 
Blogger Ambimama said...

and one more addition to no 'p' phonetic disorders amond us

Its parata everywhere...
but "ba-ro-ta" here....

of course variants are pleanty...

mutta-barota, kothu-barota, chilli-barota.....

5:31 pm

 
Blogger fat waif said...

hey ramya, nice post, ironical since yesterday was my chennai in eastham day where we went on a dosa-eating nostalgia trip. man i miss vasantha bhavn and bombay halwa house!!! sent you an epic size email detailing my day, hope you got it because it didn't show up as 'sent' in my account. let me know... much love, me

5:47 pm

 
Blogger None said...

dumbs,

o yeah. that was heartfelt. how are you doing? logn while!

cheers!
ramya

8:13 pm

 
Blogger None said...

samy,

thanks! :) metblogs? hmmm will chk out...

cheers!
ramya

8:14 pm

 
Blogger None said...

prakash,

good one that! :)

cheers!
ramya

8:15 pm

 
Blogger None said...

meg,

u have such a sexy page now... love that dark blue black...
tried to say it there but cdn't see the comments option! :)

cheers!
ramya

8:16 pm

 
Blogger None said...

mukund,

the cutlets take the cake! they're about the size of a two rs. coin! :(

cheers!
ramya

8:17 pm

 
Blogger None said...

sriram,

welcome like nothing else! :)
three out of nine agreeing on mutta dosai? wow!

cheers!
ramya

8:18 pm

 
Blogger None said...

ambimama,

chilly barota, i luuurve. except i dont eat it so often, cos it is really oily and pretty heavy on the stomach!

cheers!
ramya

8:19 pm

 
Blogger None said...

fatwaif,

gotcha mail! i remember the first time i was in eastham, i was very excited. i walked into a shop where this guy spoke to me in hindi very amicably until i asked him if he was indian. and then he bristled and snapped, "NO.PAKISTANI!"
WOW! never bothered to ask anyone that absurd question after that. it dsnt matter either! :)

cheers!
ramya

8:21 pm

 
Blogger the wannabe indian punkster said...

@ramya: thankooo!
The 'comments' are right under each post...on the right.:D.....the text is a little hard to read, I know....but if you look a little closer, you'll see it!

9:40 pm

 
Blogger Mukund said...

oh yes ramya, have had the cutlet too n felt really cheated!! and saravana bhavan's one place where the "mini meal" is really mini :)

11:00 pm

 
Blogger avronea said...

hee hee...agreed...tho josh hartnett part was slightaa, eh???
btw, ever wondered how most madmen end up in clothes of brown? is it dirt? are a majority of them auto guys who lost it? or is there an autokaaran sangam which gives out these clothes on their thalaivar's poranthanaal? ok i could go on like this forever...
anyway, nice list :-D

1:33 am

 
Anonymous Ravi said...

Acchhooo! (Bless you!) When a journo does a 'talkus interuptus' to tell you that she will call you back, you know its better to believe that the moon is made of cheese!
;)

10:40 am

 
Anonymous F e r r a r i said...

Veetla sollitu vandhitya, not necessarily means what the sentence conveys :-D

11:26 am

 
Anonymous Ramkumar said...

- The Grocery nadar pronouncing Tomato Sauce as 'Tomato Chaus'.
- Transformers r not only for power distribution but also urinals for Auto drivers.Pity the TNEB guys
-Bus passengers bless the bike riders by spitting 'paan' on them

11:49 am

 
Blogger None said...

meg,

yeah, yeah, i can see that. but there still aint no comment option for your latest post, the one in which you talk about the redesign?

cheers!
ramya

4:54 pm

 
Blogger None said...

mukund,

saravana bhavan is the only place where everything is MINI!

cheers!
ramya

4:55 pm

 
Blogger None said...

avonrea,

re: josh harnett, chumma slipped it in. cycle gap-la auto otavendiyathuthane! :)

cheers!
ramya

5:02 pm

 
Blogger None said...

f e r r a r i

yeah! vodkathon-nukku apprama veetukku vandi otitu pona appadi than solluvanga... :)


cheers!
ramya

5:04 pm

 
Blogger None said...

ramkumar,

re: last line, you are SO right!

cheers!
ramya

5:05 pm

 
Blogger Sheks said...

oh u were talking abt those days when we had denominations of 1.10,1.20,2.10 etc.i didnt know tht,sorry.

46 shud be tbm IAF.

haloscan's playing games as usual.tht's Y commenting here.

7:41 pm

 
Blogger ammani said...

Haha. Great list.

8:03 pm

 
Blogger SLN said...

Hi

Came here following a link in Chennai metblog. A very well compiled and interesting link. As a (NR) Chennai-ite I can relate to most of it but MTC fares look ridiculously cheap coming from Bangalore. Also, Tea kadai bench is a column in Dinamalar (I think).

Cheers
SLN

12:54 pm

 
Blogger None said...

shek,

yeah, haloscan has a mind of its own. and i dont like it, which is why i reinstalled this regular comment and suffer the word verification too! :(
man, i'm not saying 1.20 ps... i'm saying 65 ps. it must've been way-way ahead of your time. dint think i'd be saying this, but that's what we paid to get to school... :)

--------

hey ammani,

gee, thanks! how's the docu coming?!

cheerS!

1:42 pm

 
Blogger None said...

sLN,

o yeah, you are right re: dinamalar! oops! comes with not re-reading your post after u hit publish! have rectified it!
and thanks for stopping by.

cheers!

1:45 pm

 
Blogger arvindh said...

That was just hilarious!
To this:"The owner of the abovesaid shop seems to have been born with the once-white dhoti and once-white-half- sleeve vest he is wearing.", you could add "seems to have been born with plenty of oil in his hair even if he were 75% bald".

10:15 pm

 
Anonymous Raja said...

Triplican is the targeted place which accomodates all the bachelors who are comming to city daily. it is the birth place of many Software professional.

1:38 am

 
Blogger Radhika said...

You can't walk ten steps without stepping on sombody's spit..ugh. Not sure if that happens in any city other than in Chennai too though.

2:43 pm

 
Blogger None said...

arvindh!

:). thanks for that valuable addition.

radhika,

yeaugh! but yeah, ur right! :P


cheers!

ramya

3:05 pm

 
Blogger None said...

raja

o yes, i should have incorp some stuff bt triplicane!

cheers!
ramya

3:13 pm

 
Blogger hari said...

Chennaiyin Original Kudimagalae Vanakkam. Kalakkiteenga ponga.

4:50 pm

 
Blogger RefleXtion said...

Yeah...home sweet home! To add more....
I have learnt

That 'Captain' is some guy standing for elections and has no relation whatsoever with the army.

That when an arbid person on the road makes references to "Amma" or "Anna" he is definately NOT talking about his mother or his brother.

That a Levis Pant costs you 3000 Rs in the Levis Showroom, 1500 in the Factory Outlet and 400Rs at "Madras Cottons", around the corner.

That not only is there no relavance of a yellow light in a signal, You can leagally Jump the signal at T-5 seconds!

That certain words like 'Machee' and 'Maams'does not (necessarily) signify a closer relationship than 'friend'.

That a car without a scratch means it's just out of the showroom, and will probably be blessed with one by the time it's taken home!

That a traffic police is never AT the signal...he's a few yard just AFTER the signal.

That the size of the roadside tea cups seems to depriciate at a constant rate year on year.

That Tickets to Sathyam Theatre should be booked a week beforehand and you can only be sure of getting in if you physically have the tickets in hand.

That atleast half of you automobile 'milage' will disappear at signals or during the approach to a signal.

That you cant expect to see any water in the "Mylapore Tank" and during monsoon season there will be more water on the road than in the Tank.

That bus stops have a direct correlation with a traffic jam.

That if you want to ever visit T-Nagar, please do so between 2am to 7am.

That road-rage is present in all of us, and chennai is the best place where it can manifests itself.

--------------------------
Very Nice Blog

12:43 pm

 
Blogger Diana said...

I came to chennai to do the ACJ course and have stayed heer already for 8 months.....i have had all kinds of experiences here.....and having said that I would agree to what evr u have mentioned in ur post.

and dont even talk about the auto wallas....they loot u in broad day light.

4:35 pm

 
Blogger Kartik Kannan said...

Hi,

I am Kartik Kannan at Sulekha.com (www.Sulekha.com) and I'm writing to you about your blog.
Before I proceed, let me apologise for this unsolicited comment in your blog. I googled for good Indian blogs and found yours.
Ok, now to why am I writing to you? I'm compiling a list of the best writings in Indian blogosphere and showcasing them on Sulekha.com. Sulekha (means 'good writing') has been encouraging good writers and showcasing great writing for well over 6 years.
I want to include your blog entries on Sulekha by creating a parallel blog for you. By creating a parallel blog on Sulekha Blogs, you can dramatically boost the number of people viewing your posts and commenting on them.
To know more click here

Cheers,

Kartik Kannan
Team Sulekha

5:39 pm

 
Blogger Jay said...

I had NO idea Chennai = Madras. I learn something new every few months.

7:59 pm

 
Blogger None said...

hari,
patta peyarukku nandri! enna, konjam perisa irrukku! :)

cheers!

3:01 pm

 
Blogger None said...

resolution,

hey, good ones! :) thnks for stopping by!

karthik kannan,

how can a blogger do this?! jeez!

ramya

3:04 pm

 
Blogger None said...

diana,

thas chennai 4 u. thought u were going to come see me?!

jay,

ahem! don't we all!? like i learnt u can bake your cake but nm can eat it too! :)

cheers!

ramya

3:06 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting piece. But has a very heavy adour of BUSY BEE column Round and About that he wrote daily for over 30 years. Late Behram Contractor, I mean.

11:25 am

 
Blogger None said...

anon,

oh, really? much as it might be difficult for you to believe, i have not read behram contractor,
so i dont really care for the insinuation you seem to be making here.
oh, and next time, get a name.

ramya

1:25 pm

 
Blogger Mahadevan said...

A piece of Muttai Dosai bought from a rusted 'cart', a sip of Irani tea from a dirty glass,looking at a page of Dina Thanthi sitting on a screaching bench, discussing Dravidian Politics, 'Sundara Chennai' is Paradise now. Not being a Chennai resident, I had to fall back on a parody of Khalil Ghibran.

4:56 pm

 
Blogger vJ said...

Actually MTC bus fares are far less than BMTC buses or KSRTC in Bangalore. For example, i can travel from Velacherry to Central for 5 rupees. But i can only go 1/5 th of the distance in Bangalore and the Minimum Fare is itself 5 rupees in blore.
:-(

vJ

1:50 pm

 
Blogger Harry said...

Original words and not any forwards. It was good.

4:36 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just had mutta dosai at one "kaiyendhi bhavan" and then started browsing the net. Thought I'd better know how much famous "mutta dosai" is, and the first hit is your site, from Google.

BTW, your blog post certainly makes me feel at home :-)

ramesh.mvp@gmail.com

11:21 pm

 
Blogger Arul said...

Bus fare is too high in Chennai is 100% True. You can travel a place by 2.50Rs in Yellow board 3.00 Rs in white board, 5 rupees in blue board, 9 rupees in deluxe and 13Rs(I'm not sure i not yet traveled in this bus) in Volvo Buses. But people don't want the deluxe or Volvo buses. People need only a ordinary buses in good condition. Not the Volvo AC buses. Indirectly government rising the bus fares by making the people to use the deluxe buses.

12:30 am

 
Blogger Arul said...

Bus fare is too high in Chennai is 100% True. You can travel a place by 2.50Rs in Yellow board 3.00 Rs in white board, 5 rupees in blue board, 9 rupees in deluxe and 13Rs(I'm not sure i not yet traveled in this bus) in Volvo Buses. But people don't want the deluxe or Volvo buses. People need only a ordinary buses in good condition. Not the Volvo AC buses. Indirectly government rising the bus fares by making the people to use the deluxe buses.

12:32 am

 

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