Wednesday 7 January 2015

Chennai - A concoction of the traditional and the modern

This post is part of the blog tag titled, The CBC Tablog - 3, where CBC stands for Chennai Bloggers Club, a group where bloggers (young, old, new, jaded, bored) from Chennai gather and discuss everything under the sky including blogging and blogs. About 20 bloggers from Chennai are participating in this blog tag where  we will write about our favourite city Chennai and how it stands as a testament to the blend of the traditional and the modern. So here's my post for the CBC tablog - 3 titled, Chennai - A concoction of the traditional and the modern.'

Writing about a place that nestled me for many years of my life from a distance seems a bit excruciating. A post on the blend of the traditional and modern nonetheless. It seems almost an impossible task for me to gather the different parts  picked from memory and desire and knead them into a post. Well, I do hope that as I chug along, I am able to relive myself in the memories that I nit pick and weave them into a worthy concoction.

First, Chennai - though the name is fairly recent but ancient does not capture the essence of the place that is so dear to me. And like the name Chennai, which is at once ancient and recent, the place also displays similar hues - housing traditional tastes, smells, customs albeit packaged in brightly coloured modern wrappers which shock you at first but later settles in familiar smiles. I think every city undergoes a change, rather it evolves with every passing year - changing governments, citizens from neighbouring states, business houses that set up shop - everything contributes to the process in different degrees.

If French style Bistros, 10 Downing Street, Thai eateries and Tibetan momos do not come as a shock, then it is because the same crowd finds solace in familiar idli-sambar-chutney-podi at Saravana Bhavan or in the comfort of their homes. The easy and effortless slipping of beer to filter coffee to Coke, stands example to the shifts in the mind sets of the people as well as the city which houses these people.

Now this traditional and modern is quite natural in some quarters whereas a bit gaudy and uncomfortable in some but both these quarters seem to contribute the wholeness of Chennai. For me getting used to the vernacular name Chennai rather than the anglicised Madras itself was a psychological effort that needed coercing and acceptance and sitting in Goa, I see the city also in a similar way - A city that is named Chennai but has embraced modernity that is more often synonymous with aspects of the Western world without much ado. Of course, the change has not come overnight and without any bumps - We have had our fair of teething problems but we have learnt to accommodate and assimilate.

I pass the baton to Deepak Raghuraman, a vibrant and enthusiastic blogger who adores his Chennai and supplies readers with a mine of information on Chennai in his blog titled Namma Area. If you require any specific information about the city, then you know where to head to - Namma Area (translated as Our Area). Please do visit his blog and show some love, dear reader.


  1. Good one Susan. Thanks for the good intro :)

  2. I presume the whole state was known as Madras in the British era?

  3. Madras is traditional, Chennai is modern?

    Destination Infinity

  4. Beautiful post Susan. Loved the way you expressed your liking (of course more than just liking) for Chennai aka Madras :)

  5. Kaalayil Kaapi gives Nirvana, Evening la Nirvana gives reason to head bang.



Related Posts with Thumbnails