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Posts Tagged ‘Coimbatore’

 

chenn

Anyone who has lived in Chennai long enough will most likely tell you how much they dislike the city. They would talk endlessly about Bangalore’s maddening pursuit of the colours found on international fashion magazines. They would crave to be moved by the whiff of literary nostalgia that often permeates the roadside tea stalls of Calcutta. I even know of a few who wouldn’t mind getting lost in Mumbai. Even I, during various phases in my life, have had my eyes set on the second hand bookstores on Church Street, the sheer madness of Bandra, and once even on Coimbatore’s natural tendency to take another nap. But I wouldn’t leave this city for any of those things. The one time I did leave Chennai, I came rushing back within a year and without a kick no less a scream.

Like I have so often said before, I am in love with my city’s lack of an identity. No landmark could sufficiently define our culture. Not one restaurant could epitomize the aesthetics of our collective senses. And not one street corner can entirely capture the city’s history. Colleges, schools, cinema halls, photographs, newspapers, corporation houses – none of them come even close to defining Chennai in a nutshell. I guess it’s a compliment to all the influences that have fashioned Chennai into a cocktail of sound, sight and smell that stirs itself out of recognition once every ten years.

chenn2

Nothing remains constant here. Traffic, dress codes, local music, food culture…nothing. Perhaps some of them have shown redundancy in their progressive patterns, but not nearly enough to bore my senses.

I don’t really love this place as much as I ought to, but with my roots running deep in the quiet neighbourhoods of Chennai, I often feel omnipresent and sometimes even without feeling cramped by nostalgia. For it’s worth, it’s been my second home (the world inside my head being my true abode) for twenty-six years and not once have I wished it’s complete obliteration.

So for no apparent reason, I raise this uncommon toast to you, oh fair Chennai…in you I live and in your memory I swim.

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Star-Rocked

The night before Sunday, I hit the Star Rock pub with some strange fellows. And we drank like fishes out of water. The music was loud. Loud, I tell you. The other morons in the pub were dancing to guitar riffs and headbanging to thrash metal. It was as though they existed in a parallel universe. The four of us, surrounded by vodka, beer, French fries and lamb dishes, had to message each other in order to carry out a reasonably coherent conversation. The music was fuckin’ loud, man.

Early Morning Blues

I had to catch the early morning flight to Coimbatore. At the ungodly hour of 2 am, my body finally accepted the fact that I was drunk. My mind had some catching up to do. The cellphone display clock struck 2.30 am and my head started to feel unnecessarily heavy. Oh yes, I was going to have a hangover in just over an hour.

The Inconsequential 30 Minutes

The trip to the airport was forgettable. I felt groggy and the air-conditioning was just too cold. I was on the verge of frowning.

I Hope You Crash

I really wish that Air Deccan ran itself out of business. It’s a terrible flying experience. It is terribly cheap but still, fearing for life and limb in mid-air is ridiculously scary. The Wright brothers would eat crap and die if they had lived long to see this atrocity. Adding to this miserable feeling, most of the other passengers were first-time flyers. Most of these in-bred dickheads were either ogling at the hapless airhostess or gaping at the passing clouds. The hangover just made things worse.

You Better Google Stockholm Syndrome

The flight landed…er, unceremoniously skidded on the landing strip at 7.15 am. For some odd reason, I frantically reached for my cellphone and eagerly switched it on. I just wanted to sit down and sleep for some time. I think it’s the Stockholm syndrome.

Almost Perfect

It felt nice to walk along the Avinashi road in Coimbatore. The weather was nice and the coffee served at one of local stores was just as refreshing. The hangover persisted but then the coffee started to work its magic.

She

She didn’t look the same for a while. For a good half-an-hour, she looked like her own doppelganger. Maybe one year is a long time. Maybe my brain cells have been fried. Either way, it was unnerving. But like I said, only for a while. Soon familiarity kicked in. And so did the nice old feeling.

Culinary Fright

I have eaten a lot of dosas in my lifetime. Butter dosas. Masala dosas. Cheese ones. Heck, even chocolate dosas. But the one I had to consume at Hot Kitchen on Avinashi road was like none other. Despite her warning that the food sucked at this restaurant, I never expected to eat tamarind-tainted breakfast. More unfortunate was the fact that I had ordered for ordinary dosa.

One Hour And Still No Coffee

Our one-hour tryst with the coffee shop at Nilgiris was cute, to say the least. We sat there and chatted away to glory, completely oblivious to the fact that we were defiling social decency by not ordering anything. Oh what the hell, it felt good to be indecent.

A Refreshing Sigh

It was 11.30 am and the weather was still beautiful. She said it was rather hot. I said, oh my fuckin’ god, I am from Chennai. The Race Course Road was not what I had expected. It was better. The greenery looked picture perfect and the tar gleamed on the road. And no matter what she says, I thought the intricate designs on the pavement were stunning!

Killing Killjoy

Normally, I don’t like coffee shops. The ones in Chennai have harbored my loathing. However the Barista coffee shop on Race Course Road had an ambience, which was soothing to the senses. The cafe-something-with-whipped-cream-choco-chips-something fell short of my expectations. But the lovely wind chimes and dreamcatchers hanging on the ceiling were to die for.

My Friend In Misery

Time flies when misery is amongst pleasant company. All said and done, I had a lovely Sunday. I don’t think she would disagree. If she did, I have bamboo canes waiting to be brandished.

Seriously I Hope You Crash And Burn

The return flight was worse than any other. The plane had a bit of turbulence when it went through a storm cloud. The airhostess was a guy, who smiled too often. Scarily enough, a few of the passengers were ogling at him too. I don’t think gender matters to these nincompoops.

An Uncomfortable Sigh

After landing in Chennai, I felt at home and terribly uncomfortable. I really don’t like where I live and whenever I do leave, it’s just too brief. The Sunday ended on a bit of a sour note. On a melancholic feeling that I belong to a place, which does not deserve to accept me. What can I say? Without company, misery feels left out.

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I have never fell into dream-induced slumber during the course of any train journey that I have taken. Neither would I care for one; after all I would feel tremendously uneasy if it turns out to be a nightmare. I think being confronted by strangers at the break of dawn can have a disastrous impact on the day’s proceedings. So what I normally do is spend nights, mulling over flustered mothers and their collective incapability in smothering their offspring’s mournful cries. Watching them suppress this intolerable urge to fling the little buggers out of the nearest window can be painfully irritating. To top this, I have often had the ignominy to endure the sight of middle-aged families on the verge of de-evolving into sitcom characters, only capable of furthering their own misery.

But ever so rarely, I find myself surrounded by people who ignite my desire to observe and who unwillingly get themselves jotted down as words, rapidly becoming faint fragments of my memory. Two nights prior to now, I was on the train, on my way to Coimbatore. Strangely enough, the journey was just strange, but never disturbing. Breaking a long-lasting tradition, I even fell asleep without much fuss. The oddities in my compartment were largely quiet and gracefully idiotic. And miraculously, they let me sleep at night; only occasionally stealing my glance with their rarely conducted conversations.

Stranger things have happened to me, but none this benevolent to the pleasures of sleeping.

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