Monday, February 2, 2009

Chennai: Stink and charm

Expats are a restless lot. For most of us, minds are here, but hearts are back home. No wonder, the song, “Country road, take me home, to the place I belong..” is popular.
Anyway, may be visiting Chennai/Mumbai/Bangalore in three months. This brought random thoughts about Chennai.
• Have been inhaling the foul smell of the Cooum river since I was born. It hasn’t changed until today, even though I have become a teenager now (hey, allow me to bluff). That Buckingham canal could have been one of the most popular water transport facilities of the world. But lack of political will saw to it that it never happened that way.
• Know what? I am shocked by the pay scales in the city. I thought my wife with her award winning experience would land a teacher’s job easily. The jobs did come, but the pay offers never exceeded Rs8,000 ($1 is what Rs48?). Approached an international school in the city. The principal was kind and the children were mostly foreigners. She was selected, but the pay again was same. And the principal summed it up: “Go to the city, check out and return in a week. I will wait.”
• I had watched a Malayalee shopkeeper selling cigarettes and stuff like toffees for children. His shop must be less than 60 sq. ft. He has been standing there and selling like this for nearly half a century (Ya, ya heard this from my dad). And his dressing style has not changed. Same white dhoti and white shirt. Looked quite satisfied after all these years. Want to interview such great people when I return for good. What say?


  1. not fair...

    u shud make it to delhi as well...

  2. Do meet up please? I insist :)
    And yes, I also think tht these guys who keep happy after selling toffees for decades need to be tht they cud give some gyaan on how to make world a happier place..he he...I think I should stop studying now. I am happy enough with what all I have learnt :P

  3. me in chennai in tambaram.... a nice place .....if possible for you we shall meet...

  4. koovam river is a disgrace to chennai ! :P

    well written !! its hard to accept the bitter truths about your birth place but you can't help it I guess :)

  5. This post portrays your love for native place.

    Yes, the famous Cooum river, spoiled long ago, is getting still worse day by day with full of chemical pollutants, sewage and sludge being dumped into it.

  6. Home is where the heart is :)

    "..even though I have become a teenager now.."


    *Chuckles back a laughter*


  7. come...Ramesh, chennai and India awaits u..but must drop down in Delhi.....and i will make u see Delhi with my group...i mean that and insist u to visit national capital


  8. Welcome! Welcome! India is waiting for you...

    I love the way you love your mother land so much. Good yaar Keep it up! Sometime i want you to write something more about our India, our great values, culture, National Integration and lot more..

    Wishing you all the best and infact visit namma bengaluru and also singara chennai as well.


  9. The interview will be really nice. I can imagine how much the person who stood at one place for 50 years will have to say about the place.

  10. welcome India is waiting for son of soil 2 return ....

  11. Why are teachers paid so badly everywhere?

    And yes, continue to do what you started with Sam. I am sure the shopkeeper’s story is a great one... and even if it isn't, I know u write a good story with a philosophical end...

  12. For nearly half a century ! Sounds great. It is of my opinion that you should try to interview such people.

  13. Besant Nagar beach is equally bad... expats have trouble taking a walk along the beach in the morning...