The Making of a chennaiite

While flipping through the calendar today, I realized something…As of the 6th of March I have officially spent a majority of my life in Chennai… the place I’ve grown to consider as home…

Till I was 10 years old, I lived in a small country called Botswana, just North of South Africa. After which I moved to “madras” as I like to call it. I still remember, as a kid of 10 years, I hated the place the day I landed here.. I thought to my self  there’s no way in hell I’m going to survive more than a month in this place and come out sane… There was not a single thing I even remotely liked about the place… the electricity supply, the humidity and the heat, people’s hygiene (rather the lack of it)… All this put together just killed me… I remember waiting for opportunities just to bitch about it…

Chennai Central

Central Station


The first day I walked into school, I wasn’t really at ease… the thought of 40 kids cramped into a small room jus didn’t sound like the idea of a fun class room to me…

All that lasted for about 6 months… I started to see madras for what it is…I learnt to love my school … (Most of what I am today is because of the encouragement from my school and my parents: D )… Not to mention I made some amazing friends in school (who I still am in touch with till today: D ) …I slowly moved to the “madras is not so bad” phase from the “is there anything right about madras” phase…

And now 10 years down the line, I am proud to say I am a true Chennaiite… I’ve come to realize that there’s almost nothing you can’t do/get here…For the past 10 years I’ve been to all parts of Chennai and have loads of interesting experiences… right from fighting my way in a maddening crowd, fine dining at classy restaurant, relaxing with friends at the beach, listening to music in marghazhi ,having quick bites at the road side stalls ( yes I enjoy that as well 😛 ) to spending an entire day without electricity (that was tough day… especially without access to the web :P)

My aunts & uncles, relatives, friends, & cousins who come down from other countries always have to bitch about something or the other…This really gets on my nerves… I take more as a personal offence (I have no clue why though)… People who have grown up in this very city, people who this city has raised, people who think they belong to that some random country, people who after a stint abroad, come home jus to bitch about it…

No it’s not because they’ve changed, or they don’t get what they want…its because they “want to hate the place”…If you’re one of them think about this statement and you’ll realize what I’m saying is 200% true…  If you hate it soo much why do u even bother coming back… stay where are you… it’s not we like we need you here…

At the end of the day I’ve come to realize that my 10-year-old self was wrong… I can even go to the extent of saying I can’t stay away from this place for more than a month … the entire impression I had of the place has completely changed… thinking back I realize that there’s almost nothing that you can’t here…Right from trekkers clubs, state of the art computers/gadgets, restaurants of ANY cuisine, to a bloggers association… Madras has it all….

Madras – my home town


6 thoughts on “The Making of a chennaiite

  1. Roopak! super stuff, you could have been reading my mind to and agree hudred percent on taking it as a personal offence if somoene says something derogatory about chennai! You deserve 6 stars! This piece rocks!

  2. Madras is a nice place. There are a lot of cultural gems tucked away in and around the city. And yes, there is fine dining in the classy restaurant and the trekkers’ club and the British library. But personally, I think its stuck between two value systems, neither here nor there. There’s all the temples, and the devout, and then there’s the clubs and the lot. Both of which, at the end of the day cannot co-exist without bitching about each other. And honestly, you can’t find fighting your way through a crowd interesting, unless you’re being sarcastic. I loathe the ‘might is right’ culture. Might is not right, in fact, the use of might to fight your way through a crowd is barbaric and uncivilised.
    And taking personal offence is up to you, but I think pointing out the flaws with a city (any city, be it London, or Paris or Delhi, not only Chennai) is observational and allows the view where people don’t blindly accept things as they are. The whole attitude of not correcting flaws but instead saying “It’s perfect the way it is” is ludicrous. Uh, no. Nothing is perfect the way it is. And although our hometowns give us a sense of belonging, we should call a spade a spade. If something is wrong with it, then voice it. Don’t delude yourself to believe its perfect that way. That doesn’t being improvement. Hell, that attitude gets us nowhere. And any city, given our global culture today which is so superficial and amoral, is far from being perfect. Flaws need to rectified, not glorified in the name of diversity.

    But then, that’s just my view. And I’m becoming exponentially more cynical by the day, so maybe your warm take on Chennai is a much better one. 🙂

    • True, what u said makes a lot of sense… yeah there is a lot of work that can be done here.. but most the ppl i talk to complain about something… and do stuff to make it worse themselves…(eg.. ppl complain bout the trash on the road.. throw some on the road themselves… the same idiot doesn’t do it in Singapore… why???)…so i was hoping leaving it this way would actually change ppl’s view about the place…

      But yes… completely agree with u(especially bout the “might is right culture” -> totally wrong)… and in doing so i’m guessing i nullify my article 😛

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