UMM O+N is now at

Umm has moved to Wordpress.
And those of you kind enough to list me on your blog, please update the link:
Let's go...

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Madras Musings I

Been back in Madras for a little over a week now and there are so many random thoughts going through my mind.

Recession seems to have hit a precious few. People are still spending, and the flash of plastic can be seen everywhere – from the grocers’ to the computer store.


Everyone. And I mean EVERYONE has a mobile phone. 3-member households have 4 phone connections including the landline…


The civic sense of the Madrasis has only deteriorated… If there is something lower than rock bottom that is. If you are at a traffic signal, chances are that at least 3 people are spitting in your direction. Wherever you maybe.
And the ‘have penis-will pee everywhere’ mentality continues. The Madras-man is so unashamed of unzipping his pants (or hitching his lungi) to pee, even if it’s on the crowded Nungambakkam High Road or Mount Road.


The Woodlands Drive-in is no more. I never liked the food there, and was always amazed at how unabashedly, unhygienic the joint was, and how it managed to attract such a massive clientele. Yet, the place was an ideal meeting place for many. A place where lovers met. A place where the weary traveller stopped. Where marital alliances were often fixed. Where journalists met their sources. Where politicians convened. Now it’s nothing.
I live around the corner from where it once used to be. I still can’t get used to the empty sprawling piece of horticultural society land. The shut gates, and the muddy area around it, provides a good open air toilet.


There seems to be fewer walls than political parties. Every public wall is filled with combinations of red and black. One corrupt politician vying with the next, to get the attention of a weary population.


Anyone over the age of 12 in M Karunanidhi’s family seems to be assured a cabinet post. Is there no end to a man’s greed? No end to nepotism?

The music scene is on full swing. And no amount of ‘Yaaru Ootla Party’ kind of songs and its popularity, erases the enthusiasm for Margazhi festival.


Chennai is cool and pleasant for most part of the day. Yes, it’s true. I am not kidding.


The autorickshaw drivers’ greed seems to have plateaued. No great hike in their fares since last year.


And every other teenage girl has rebonded hair. I really miss seeing the frizzy Madrasi hair that I seem to have held on to, despite being away from the city.


So Madras has 2 more newspapers than it’s been used to for so many decades. Unfortunately, neither are real value adds.

… random thoughts will continue


Shyam said...

ooohhh.. more such vignettres please. I'd like to know what to expect when I come there in Feb... perhaps we could meet up? That would be great!

umm oviya said...

many more before you land i'm sure. and yes, definitely meet up. if i am not in a state to move out, you are cordially invited home.

Teesu (very very Indian, very very good) said...

Will 'show' you my hair for sure next time so you can get your fill of the frizzzzzzzz.