Monday, January 05, 2009

A second winter in Chennai

Highlights include:

- The buses. They were so much fun! I would arrive at the bus stop only to find the bus I wanted already there or just arriving, as if someone had sent out an urgent signal. No waiting, no looking at the passing autos wistfully (in Chennai?! Hah.) wondering if they were an option.

- The empty bits of land in Velachery, off the bypass road. These would not be as much fun if I actually had live there, but just walking past them every day is a learning experience: such as, the things people consider irredeemable waste. Helmets, plastic-net laundry bags, old clothes, and masses and masses of plastic bags.

- Meeting (and attending) one evening's readings at the Poetry with Prakriti festival, where Michael Creighton and Monica Mody read. Michael's kid and mine turned out to be the same age with similar reading tastes (this means they sat downstairs and the Oxford Bookstore and read Asterix and Tintin and laughed and chuckled, very audibly in a nearly silent bookstore).

-Hanging out with Rahul and Cat and Vivek.

-Gifts of books: The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. The latest issue of The Journal of the Krishnamurti Schools.

-Walking lots. I don't seem to walk anymore in Hyderabad.

- Watching the waves at the Besant Nagar beach on 26th December with a mixture of dread and relief. And wondering why a dripping tap does not have the same hypnotic effect that waves have. Can it really only be a matter of scale?

-Not having to cook or wake up early or do things, you know? And not having to visit family if you didn't want to. Made a refreshing change from what trips to Chennai are usually about.

-Oh, and enjoying family go on about how cold Chennai is right now. So much pani, you know.

-Vasanta Vihar. Nothing I've listed above compares. That makes it a separate post, if I ever get around to it.


dipali said...

Madras in winter becomes a different city, I think- it even seems to tame the buses! Glad you had such a good time:)

Tabula Rasa said...

pani? water?

Anonymous said...

I don't think our sons will ever forget their dinner at the Park. At least mine won't!


Veena said...

TR: Same composition. Snow, fog, mist, frost and all such things but not water.

Banno said...

My sole memory of Chennai remains being jolted around from the airport to the bus stop in a rickety taxi and then a rickety auto, the feeling of being cheated oh so badly, confusion and terrible, sweltering heat. Hope I get a chance one day to have a better time in Chennai. The Park sounds lovely.