Thursday, May 05, 2011

Agni Nakshathram

No, it is not a review on the sibling confrontation movie from Maniratnam that came more than two decades back.

Visited Madras (aka Chennai) over the last weekend and here is some unsolicited advice for those headed to Madras from Bangalore (aka Bengaluru), this month. Of course, this doesn't apply to those who live there. They are demi-gods and hence super-natural. They can tolerate even Fukushima. :-D
  • Never under-estimate the weather at Madras even if you have snow or hail falling at you on the way. We were greeted by blinding rain at Krishnagiri which we hoped would extend all the way to the coast. Alas!, 10 kms out of Krishnagiri and the clouds wore out to beat us blue and whack.
  • Madras has only 3 swings of temperature across the day/night - warmish hot, sweaty hot, 'sap the hell out of you and blow your head' gory hot. Any other weather is God's gift.
  • Of course, the night is hot, unless you catch a short warm draft of the sea-breeze close to the shore. You can wake up in the morning at 6:30 am to see your sweatfest begin.
  • God forbid if the power goes off (which seems to be the case routinely there) and you are out of inverter power (you'll be roasted to die without power in Madras). Of course, the 220V voltage dips down to 180V and so a fan at speed-5 is the same as a fan at speed-1.
  • This is one city where the bathrooms need to have fans (not just exhaust, but inlet and ceiling ones) and the minute you are out of the bath, you would have taken a bath of sweat unless the room you go into is air-conditioned.
  • Venture into T-Nagar, only to go into the air-conditioned showrooms that do not have the swarming crowds (find out if there are really any!)
  • Of course, there are good things that you can do over the week/weekends to escape the heat. Loiter around in huge centrally air-conditioned newbie malls like Express Avenue. Going by the crowd that seems to be there on weekends, you can scramble into a theater near you. The tickets are less than half the price that of the ones that the Bangalorean multiplexes rip you of. Of course, we got ripped off at the 'Polar Express' at Express Avenue mall like a doofus to go to what was nothing but shredded ice sprayed as snow in an enclosure with a few ice sculptures. Boy!, there was a crowd there too to try to beat the heat, no wonder.
  • Marina is potentially a no-no. In the evenings, there is a tsunami of floating population out there waiting for the poor-man's cooler, the sea. 
  • There are confusing fly-overs and watch out for the spoils of war of your vehicle (dents and scratches) with the Chennai roads.
  • Traffic is sparsely better than in Bangalore in most parts. Madras is building a metro and its effects can be seen in the Anna Nagar area in the evenings where the Bangalorean crawl seemed like a jackrabbit sprint. But nothing to beat us in this department.
  • In the hum of a spinning fan, dream that a foggy mist awaits you in the morning, and dream only (It is really true that in Bangalore, especially the fringes, have fog and mist in the mornings this time of the year too :-D) Ask your host to get an Almonard industrial strength fan which could propel one standing before it to fly. :-)
Or, look at the benefits; foodie places like Sangeetha's, Saravana Bhavan, Murugan Idly Shop, Adyar Grand Sweets etc for an eat-out binge (which are typically more expensive than a movie ticket), no dearth of shopping haunts and bazaars, hear a new dialect of Tamizh - the Madras Baashai, be in a natural sauna to get rid of your fat via sweat. Move to Madras, condition yourself for a month or two and then declare to one and all proudly that you can survive Al'Aziziyah!


G3 said...

Idhukku peru dhaan vanjapugazhchi aniya!!!

Aanalum enga chennaiya romba thaan kalaaichirukkeenga... Very bad :((((((

Next time varamala poiduveenga chennai pakkam :P

G3 said...

Vadai enakkae :))))

RS said...

I am not a big fan of Chennai, either. But, Bangalore is no less compared to Chennai in terms of crowd/shopping etc... Aana, unga Bangalorela enga suthinaalum beach illaye :(

The heat in Chennai, I like to think, is because of the warmth generated by every individual living there :D.

Think of Gils (and so many others like him), who lives in there and loves the place, no matter what, even after having to travel long distances to and fro in the scorching sun, EVERY day!!

RamMmm said...

@G3-Ennanga romba naala aalayae kaanom. post marriage, almost no post. Eppdi irukkeenga.

Chumma oru kalaaikkal thaan. onnum thappa eduththukkaadheenga. But as an outsider to Chennai, I need to condition myself to beat that heat and mugginess. Madurai veyyilai paaththavan thaan, ippdi aayittaen.

Unga oorukku appappo varanum, as a visitor. So me gupshup further. :-)

Ungalukku vadai enna, adhirasamae eduththukuga. :-)

@RS-:-D Gils, G3: RSoda andha statementla, Chennai should have cooled down by 25 degrees Celsius. Hats off.

Bangaloreai vidunga, ippo thaan Metro varudhu, maybe the malls are as crowded or even more than Madras. And if you have one, you lose something else. I have not seen one side of Bangalore in spite of living here for a significant time. The beach is the boon and bane of Chennai. :-D I love Chennai for its food variety. This time managed to get to Sangeetha's, Murugan Idly Kadai and HSB, one each day :-)

It is all a question of how you/your body takes it and if you have roots there. No denial that millions have Chennai as a hometown and are attached to it, irrespective of its weather. For me, the place called hometown is Bangalore, which is my adopted place. :-D

Ramesh said...

My theory is that Madras is hotter because all the Tamils generate a lot of hot air - witness how any public speaker in Tamil yells at 1000 decibels at a speed of 1500 kmph :)

As I wait to get clobbered by all noble Madrasites, I shall point out that the wily gils therefore spends all his time either at the office or at Devi Paradise.

Matangi Mawley said...

I am not a big fan of Madras... on that matter... i don't know abt bangalore either... been there just once, for a day...

but whtevr u've mentioned abt chennai- cant agree more....

but one thing i really liked in chennai... to stop people frm sticking poster-- there are beautiful paintings made on the walls at some places... esp. on the way to beach.. somewhere- the entire kannagi story is painted... somewhere else-- dance forms... i really liked it!

another thing i liked in chennai-- the december music season! if u like carnatic music-- chennai is a heaven... however hot it may be-- a cool breeze of raaga- sudhdha dhanyasi will do for me! :)

RamMmm said...

@Ramesh-ROTFL at your dig at 'wily' gils. He must be on his way to Bangalore to seek you out for a tête-à-tête. :-D

@Matangi-:-D That wasn't sarcasm that I put, but a note on what I felt with very minor exaggeration. :-) Bangalore is better only in climate and in IT and maybe a few others and lags Chennai otherwise in most sectors.

I heard that Chennai picked up the wall painting/frescoes from a Bangalore initiative. All underpass walls here are painted with Karnataka heritage places, in some places with paintings of places of worship and in some places, scenes of nature depicting Karnataka.

Definitely Maargazhi is a time to be in Madras, if you are music aficionado.

zeno said...

Day in Day put my mom adds up to the Chennai temp by telling, it is raining here what about there? I think she does it mostly to rub it in me :(

Trust me Chennai is getting hotter than any native could tolerate.

Marina would be empty by nine a.m and you can have all the beach for yourself.Don't ask me why and who goes to beach. ;)

Crowd that EA attracts is not a crowd that sets out to beat the heat. At least IMHO.

The foodie places in Chennai ends up with the list you have mentioned. There might be others which are good.There are no good mid range hotels which are there in Bangalore. For me personally it is Saravana bhavan or Sudalaimadan :( Sometimes i wonder Chennai Hotels have a separate Inflation index much more higher than others!

RamMmm said...

@zeno-Ha Ha Ha, unga Amma kitta Chennaipattanaththai paththi, arumai perumaiyaa sonneengalo? :-)

:-) :-) on your beach comment. vaegaadha veyyillayum beach poravanga irukkaththaan seyyaraanga. :-)

EA is the only mall I have gone to in Chennai and that too it was this time only. I did see some not usually seen in malls folks however.

Next time when we meet, we'll select a non-usual small time place. :-)

On inflation index, I would echo the comment. Relatively costlier than Bangalore, but then I cannot claim to have seen the expensive ones here.

Srivats said...

Been to chennai last weekend and alas jus the same, its like u have writtern my thoughts, Share the same blood about powercuts, traffic and theater prices.

If u have home surrounded by trees u shd jus stay indoor for rest of the summer. Thankfully i escaped to bangalore :)

Srivats said...

g3 vadai sapdradha innum vidalayaaa

Venkat said...

8 Years back when i moved to bangalore, me thought chennai was the better place to live.. beach, cultural programes, theatres, book stores, food, road connectivity, Electric train, good collages, easy acess for childerns to learn lot of art forms, etc are the best part of chennai. but now after moving actually to chennai, as u said temperature is making me to run back to bangalore. (enna irunthaalum oor paasam vida maatenguthu)

Venkat said...

Oru chinna visyam sola marathutan, naan comment ezhuthinathe athukuthan, atha vitdudan.. bangalorela painting aarampichadhu 0ct-09 la thaan, aanaa namma thalainagarathula adayar kupaiya kindi thozhkaapiar poongava maatha project arampicha timele paintingsum arampichaachu. namma oor thanga munoodi:)

Anonymous said...

Which part of chennai you stay?
DD is currently in chennai and could not stand it any further,can't agree more on voltage drops.Avoided India trip only bcoz its summer now,Ambuli would not stand it.
And to your restaurant list there are a lot to add,and HSB is no more a mid range rest,with one idli costing you 10 rs,even in bahrain it is only 15 rs/idli.

RamMmm said...

@Srivats-Welcome back. :-D The suburbs are supposedly better. But I think you (rather we) need to be conditioned to extremes. Bangalore conditions you not to expect harsh weather. :-D

G3 Brusselsla irukkaanga. Aana vadaiya uda maataengaraanga. :-)

RamMmm said...

@Venkat-Welcome! Vaanga, Vaanga. :-)

Srivatskku sonnaa maadhiri Bangalore conditions you not to expect harsh weather. At times, the sun is harsh here as well (சுட்டெரிக்கும் வெய்யில்), but cools down fast. Summer showers are already there.

On your other comment, maybe! As long as folks don't desecrate walls, wherever it is, it is absolutely good.

RamMmm said...

@AA- My landing place in Chennai is T-Nagar, very close to Tanishq/Prince Jewellery. :-) :-) Not much of trees there.

Enakku therinja restaurant avvlo thaan Chennaila. zeno/gilsai pidikkanum for more variety. :)