Remembering Chennai evokes a chequerboard of emotions in me, both black and white and almost in equal measure. And before the recent past transforms into the good ol’ days, imbuing every memory with a glossy sheen of forgetful nostalgia, I thought I should record my thoughts about this city that was beginning to feel like home; before it got too hot. I mean Madras did give me a few things to cherish: it taught me to take pride in sporting a stache, its ghee-laden cuisine bestowed upon me my slight (in my imagination) potbelly that I’ll have to work off, and it gave me a rigorous training in reporting around a completely alien tongue that should hold me in good stead. Continue reading
Finally, after months of deliberation and delay, I determinedly got into a semi-sleeper bus headed for Munnar at the crowded Koyambedu bus stand in Chennai. I was alone, a backpack slung over my shoulder. The journey was comfortable. I reclined my seat well back and slept fitfully for ten hours before I woke up at 7 am to a rude shock. “Passengers heading to Munnar get down at Udamalpet. There’s a strike in Kerala,” our conductor said tersely. Continue reading
“There are no cooks we can hire!” exclaimed Vishal Potnis, the proprietor of Highway Gomantak, a popular award-winning Goan restaurant in Bandra upon being asked what was stopping him from expanding his lucrative business. ‘People from Goa have a laidback attitude towards life”, he said claiming that it was mostly migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar that worked the kitchens in Panaji hotels. “If they can’t work in their own state you cannot expect them to work in Mumbai”, he said.