last part of the tales...
Chennai has changed over the last 3 years, or so my friends tell me. I don’t have much frame of reference, so I’m just going with the flow. Honestly, I don’t even want to know much about the place. I have been here two days now and I’m dying to go back home. To Bangalore, with the whispering winds. Only my friends keep me from running, screaming for the hills.
We go shopping. Spencer’s Plaza one day, and a hideous monstrosity of an architecture, called City Centre, the next. It is, perhaps appropriately, bang in front of the very odorous city fish market.
A. and I proceed to get a little crazy. After all, we have been window-shopping buddies through college, and now that have a little money to splurge, that too, in each other’s company, we really go overboard. I had been told of the wonderful leather in Chennai, and so proceed to buy 4 bags and 3 pairs of shoes. If my mom saw me shopping, I think she’d have a coronary. J
Meet up with S. and S. at the coffee shop. They bring along another friend. For guys in banking, they are still the chaotic, crazy people I have known since years. We have a blast, sitting around, talking shop, and random trivialities.
Café Coffee Day, I find, is the same everywhere. Characterized by bad service, and worse pop music blaring across hajjar speakers, it is difficult to make oneself be heard. I’m definitely a Barista aficionado, with more comfy seating, and better music, and definitely better coffee.
There is a lot of good natured “dissing” of each other, and the cities we frequent. While waiting for our dinner reservation, the guys light up. I do too, it’s a casual gesture. It’s only when I catch random people, of all ages and classes staring at me, that I realize that for all the “hep” attitudes, this is still a place steeped in conservativeness. I suppose they are amazed by the sheer audacity of a woman taking a puff, on the road. Once again, I’m thankful I’m in Bangalore and not Chennai.
The city HAS changed though, I have to grant. The city looks younger, more “spiffy” from this angle. Teenagers over the world are the same really, and Chennai is no exception. Daughters have escaped their mother’s coconut scented clutches, and are out in droves, all capri-ed and short-topped. They sit around in casual elegance, with the city coffee shops, bright eyed and bushy tailed, and wile away time with their friends. In shopping malls and coffee shops, at least, there is no longer the flower wielding, oil slicked public I had encountered, as early as 2 years ago.
All in all, its an illuminating set of experiences.