sights and sounds


*for R, who asked me how Madras is treating me*

a tree was felled opposite my house.
i felt very sad to watch her go.
roads are smoother.
one road was finally tarred after 23 years.
art is on the Elliot’s Beach. all this week.
kalaripayattu has a home right out of Madras
firstborn is reading the Chamber of Secrets and asking me meanings — poltergeist, petrified, amulet, heir,…aargh!
i have a favourite pazhamudhir nilayam – at RA Puram- it’s a chain.
i have a favourite nilgiris, (Besant Nagar) it’s a chain too.
i buy kaapi Decoction liquid out of a sachet . easy, brownie points, for making davara tumbler kaapi.
which brings me to the fact that the local paper has more news i can use than the national paper that sells XXXXXX copies.
my biggest find that makes me:-) is
i don’t have a favourite salon. no comfort level at all, in any of them.
all the salon girls are in gossipland, and i am the poor customer holding a towel and shivering in the AC. I postpone these visits until…
i know where i can get sumeet spares, and pressure cookers repaired for so so so less.
i know two trees that bear shiny red gundumani seeds that my sons and i collect like crazy — one on abiramapuram third street, and the other at new woodlands hotel.
i wish i could plant trees; have a flower garden in my terrace.
but i make compost.
and i cook breakfast and lunch for my domestic help. they think i chartbust at rasam, pongal and basundhi.
it’s impossible to read the musicpages without reading about tm Krishna. and i am a sanjay fan.
i watched a discourse of
and i am never too far away from calling in to order my next consignment of vethal, vadaam and applam.

life’s good:-)


26 responses »

  1. you are the sweetest…see, you did find all that you wanted to find !!! and you are right in the middle of appalam vethal heaven:)
    sheegrameva tree planting praaptirastu:) i think you would be the happiest then…until then, keep blog posting and composting . šŸ™‚

    Touche on tm krishna. but im sure the music pages are talking about all things non musical about him…have you read this
    he has become a circus now and if i hear any good music from at all im actually surprised…

    • you may be right, R!
      my mil says I cry for the first six months of any new transfer – because I don’t want to leave what is familiar.

      and she says I cry for the last six months before leaving — because I have grown to love the place too much.

      thanks for the blessings on trees… I cant wait for that to materialise.

    • you should have a plan to r2i. and then life would be like only 3000 more days left here, only 2999, look only 2998, 2888 already, shucks it 2777 and there’s so much more to be done before we leave etc!
      subtraction is the name of the game. figuring out the ending digit, that’s the trouble.

  2. Is the Kaveri decoction better than the Tanjore degree coffee decoction (I’ve spotted/ bought them only at the Kovai Pazhamudir Solais, not the Sundar/ thatha/ paati Pazhamudirs)? Astra Dairy doesn’t deliver where I live.
    As for the salons, my R.A Puram friend swears by the Limelite there. I like the Oryza spa opposite Chamiers – konjam expensive, but good for when you need something luxurious.

    • Re! so pleased that we can compare notes…:-)
      kaveri works great with the green packet of aavin + this milkfrother from here + sugar which is swaad ke anusaar.
      gives a uniform blending and a high-umbrella of froth that the davara-regulars demand.
      also makes yumm cold coffee, says my ma.
      astra dairy has updated their delivery places list. you could try again. they also have paneer and skimmed milk …
      I haven’t tried limelite – thank you for the reco:-)
      I did try oryza in nungambakkam twice, last year. even took ma.
      but everything takes forever. plus it takes ages to get there…
      very nice and polite staff…, I agree but they are spa-oriented.
      and I am salonish in my needs

      • Oh, you have no idea how much I’ve wished there was a local Madras person to swap these notes with. For instance, last week, I discovered Srinivasa silks, bang opposite the Mylapore station (I am told it’s Madras maamis’ best kept saree secret) – so now my amma needn’t wonder where aduthathu Gayathri maami gets all those lovely silk cottons and Kanjeevarams from.
        Thank you for the Kaveri reco – I love the details. Shall try and procure said frother, soon. Also, green packet reminds me – a bunch of us colleagues had gone to dinner at a friend’s (L) house a couple of days ago. One of them, S, tastes a spoonful of the thayir and goes, ‘Oh, this is Orange packet Aavin’. New-in-Madras friend was stunned by this accurate analysis. Agree with you on Oryza – very spa more than salon.
        On that note, have you discovered any reliable, fresh, Basil- selling places? šŸ™‚

        • this conversation is leaving me completely envious…i have been 23 years out of the city but it is still the same but so very different every time I visit..

          Hello Re. If you dont mind my asking – Where exactly opposite Mylapore station is this srinivasa silks ? Near the watch servicing/ Queens “foreign” packing facility ?

          reg basil- I hear there is a place called gormei –

          that sells organic fruits/ veggies/ herbs…heard good things about it

          *goes way whining….i want to live in the 2000s madras…*

          • it’s inside the sandhu, R. that has wholesale saris, and packaging shops, you must know it, am sure.
            it’s been there forever.

            I did go to gormei too … nothing that amma nana (opp Sheraton) doesn’t have. better marketing mebbe. the boomi milk that I bought at gormei when phut.
            but it does have a nice international range of sauces and spices — but so does “nuts and spices” or the brown tree chain.
            you are right R. Chennai is quite cozy for the world traveler’s palate. not haven material, yet. but I did see butter from Denmark, recently:-)

          • R, MiM has responded already, but yes, its in the same complex as Queen’s. I also found an entire ‘choppu saamaan’ set in one of the Mada streets, complete with the palm leaf ‘dabba’. Made me very happy šŸ™‚

        • hey!! all my wedding saris are from srinivasa.
          I had no idea it was so hush hush . I’d better seal my lips, and look mysterious
          my mum keeps popping there since forever.
          they don’t have too much variety — but the quality is supposed to be topclass.

          the latest news on aavin is that there is purple packet aavin, or so my co-sister tells me. oh the rainbowness of it all.

          my mil. the connoisseur, isn’t giving the orange too high a rating for kaapi or curd. she says it leaves a strange lingering smell.
          green is just right, she says.
          I have no clue. I don’t drink coffee.

          and the person who can help you with basil is the owner of an organic store called her name is ms. hinu. she’s very In the know about these things and may even be able to source it for you, as well.

            • I love the comments section here :). Yes, everyone goes ga-ga about the quality of the sarees there. And their colors – I saw some not-seen-in-recent-times colored pattu sarees there and it made me so happy!
              Blouse tailor – I recently chanced upon two. One of them in your area – she is next door to the Alwarpet Shilpi (I think the place is called Mahika), sandwiched between Samasta and Shilpi. Best blouse tailoring that I have seen so far, but expensive. I might keep her for my pattu saree blouses. The other one is in KK Nagar, but I figure that is not your side of town (I stay there). Her blouses are good too and very reasonably priced.
              I must wake up early tomorrow and go look for this purple packet now.

  3. It really warms the cockles of my heart to read all this about the city I love. Yeah, I know you are still breaking into it, but hey, one you get into the spirit of Madras, it lives on.

    For me, Madras is the perfect medley of oomph, simplicity, grace, brashness, joy, misery, elegance, clutter, and soul. Unfortunately for me, my husband hates the city and nothing can convert him even after 10 years of living here. Breaks my heart, but he is outnumbered in our house because the kid loves the city even more, if that’s possible, than I do.

  4. I KNOW THAT TREE ON ABHIRAMAPURAM THIRD STREET!!!! (sorry, shouting because I so so so so so excited!) šŸ™‚ My grandfather’s house was 15 C P Ramaswamy Iyer Street (house still is, but is no longer his), a few houses up from my favourite little temple in all of Madras! šŸ™‚ Spent many happy hours there reading while waiting to escort my 85-year-old thatha back home after his twice-weekly upanyasam – sometimes he was the speaker and sometimes he was in the audience. Oh happy days…

    • totally six degrees of seperation, what?!
      and we are friends without facebook. and we have the tree as a common friend, then.
      am sure the tree remembers your thatha, and the teenage shyam too.
      but which temple is this?
      no clue?

      • I knew it as “Gurukulam” – but I believe its official name Sri Sankara Gurukulam. I don’t know its history, I just know that it was really tiny and only really used by the immediate locals, which suited me because it was never busy. The biggest deal was when the Shankaracharya visited it and our street was inundated by about 5 billion people or so it seemed… and His Merc stopped right outside our house and my patti very nearly expired of total devotion and joy right on the spot šŸ™‚

  5. Pingback: Madras Times | Bingo's Mom

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