Madras · sports

Talking of City Profiles…

The title refers to buddy’s beautiful prose on city profiles. A city as lovable as Bombay.

This is not a city that I’ve loved right from the word go. It’s not the city I grew up in. The more appropriate statement would be that the city grew upon me. Like buddy articulates, the je ne sais quoi of a city takes keen observation and experience to come in terms with. That’s exactly what happened with Madras and me.

This is going to be short and simple. There is no question of being defensive. The city is not revered for famous buildings or past happenings of importance. The city pulsates with a characteristic balance absent in other cities. Madras does not enjoy cult status. Nobody asks you if you’ve seen the Gateway of India. Nobody asks you if you’ve had bun maska and chai or a pitcher of beer at Leopold’s. Nobody asks you if you’ve visited at least one pub on M.G. Road. Nobody asks you if we can go on a weekend visit to Madras(It is totally Bangloreans fault in projecting MG Road and Brigade road as The City). Nobody asks you if you’ve traveled in a tram. Nobody asks you if you’ve taken part in a protest in college.

You don’t need all that. They say you are what your company is. So there. Your city becomes what you are. I believe that you and your interactions with the people you know in a city shapes what you think of it. It’s not about landmarks, characteristics or pop culture references. It is pedestrian to think that you love New York City because you walked on Wall Street, went clubbing on 14th street and took a leak at the eighth avenue subway(true story!).

This may sound pretentious but sample this. Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar may be from Bombay. Virender Sehwag may be from Delhi. Dada comes from Kolkata and, not to leave the south, Kumble and Dravid may come from Bangalore. But you need a Madras to witness the best Test match. History and statistics tell you that the chances of Sachin scoring a century at Chepauk are higher than any other place. I know this doesn’t drive home the point. I confessed this is not an explanation. I don’t feel obligated to give one. Just wanted to write something on the eve of the semi-finals.

But hey! The credit for the best promotional video among the IPL teams, also goes to Chennai:


24 thoughts on “Talking of City Profiles…

  1. “The more appropriate statement would be that the city grew upon me”- Nice one!!

    Even i just love this place very much!

    summava sonnaga!! Madras Madiri varumma?

    yeah this kuthu song is really good!!

    Adi: Yeah. thanks!


  2. Okay.. if it is not about IPL, I think I will like Bombay too.. I had been there for only one week, but after reading Shantaram, and seeing Bombay through a India-loving foreigner’s eyes, I think I will really love the city!

    Adi: Shantaram really makes you fall in love with Bombay. But you have to experience it living there!


  3. Also, how did u forget the importance of Chinnaswamy stadium? :)
    Thats a good one too, for India.
    And again, like in the earlier comment, I cannot talk about IPL… :)

    Adi: Hehehe, true!


  4. Oh btw.. Please give me access to the NaatuSaruku blog(unless there is some criterion? :)).. I love the title already! :)

    Adi: Lol, all in good time :P


  5. Great post! Was Madras ‘growing upon you’ a recent thing? I always thought you were a Bombay Boy!

    Chennai Sooopaar kings :)
    So fun to say.

    Adi: Not very recent. Right from my engineering days. Bombay boy will remain at heart. :D Lol.


  6. Machaaan!
    Thair saadam + degree kaapi is equal to the disappears yevvarywhere else. The punch ain’t there…
    Miss Madras :-/ !

    Adi: True that! :)


  7. Surely Chennai has its cultural book-markers?

    – The “ever-helpful” auto drivers.
    – The “slow and safe” Pallavan buses.
    – The eco-friendly garbage trucks of Neel Metal Fanalca
    – Women in dazzling Kanjeevarams.
    – Vadhyars speeding on fearsome mopeds.
    – The Katcheri season
    – The eateries along ECR
    – The week-end rides to Mahabs!

    God, I could go on…

    Adi: Haha, yes! But I just said its much more than that and for not just Madras. Every city.


  8. Good one. I completely agree with those who say Mumbai rocks…it truly does in more ways than I can explain. However, my true pedestrian nature is exposed here because I love Manhattan for so many reasons including the fact that I have walked on Wall Street, clubbed on 14th street and er, I plead the 5th on whether I took a leak at the 8th ave subway…

    Adi: Lol, you love it for so many reasons. Not just that. So it’s not exactly pedestrian! And for the 8th avenue subway incident, well, ahem!


  9. I thought you drooled on Bombay more than Madras… but anyhoo, great post! Someday, I shall also discover a city which grew on me. Till then, I’ll keep cursing Chandigarh and Delhi and Paris. :P

    PS: My favourite cousin met her future husband in Chennai during their 2-year job stint there. They love the city so much that they went all the way from Delhi later to make sure that their daughter was born in Chennai. Crazy, I tell you. :P

    PPS: I used to love the Chennai ICL ad… “jujbeeeeee”. So funny it was! :D

    Adi: Thanks! That is some serious Chennai crazy family! I don’t think even I would do that :)


  10. ahem – I would really like to read an elaborate post on Madras jingoism. To me, this was just a trailer. I am a thoroughbred Calcuttan who has spent long hours soaking every inch of its atmosphere. This is the only place in our country where the place to keep yourself abreast of Latin American politics(among many other things) is a saloon – For some reason, barbers in Calcutta have the uncanny ability to deconstruct Hugo Chavez’s policies and have an informed comment on how Bush screwed up in Bolivia. Macchi – spend some time in Calcutta – trams would become a way of life and not a tourist attraction, where protest would be your manner of speech and not a check on the to-do list of things while you are there :) Trust me, you will develop a la Hemingway-Paris style of relationship with it.

    Adi: Lol @ jingoism. And about Calcutta, never been to that part of India and it is long due. Lets see. Something would come up sooner or later and I would get to go there.


  11. Hey,
    Read quite a few of your posts. Found a lot of interesting ones, really liked the Cities review. You seem to have interesting opinions of varied subjects. There’s a forum we blog on : It’s a forum for everyone who wants to keep up to date on developments in India. Also, people share opinions on life outside India and their perspectives on life. Would love it if you could join us and post your views on the site. Check it out.


  12. I’ve been spending the last 6 months trying to remember what that french phrase was, now i know :) thanks (i know completely unrelated to your post)


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